Leading the invasion: The role of Cathepsin S in the tumour microenvironment

Sara H. McDowell, Samantha A. Gallaher, Roberta E. Burden*, Christopher J. Scott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Elevated expression of the cysteine protease Cathepsin S has been correlated with a number of different cancer types in recent years. As tools have been developed to enable more accurate examination of individual cathepsin species, our knowledge and appreciation of the role that this protease plays in facilitating cancer has increased exponentially. This review focuses on our current understanding of the role of Cathepsin S within tumours and the surrounding microenvironment. While various publications have shown that Cathepsin S can be derived from tumour cells themselves, a plethora of more recent studies have identified that Cathepsin S can also be derived from other cell types within the tumour microenvironment including endothelial cells, macrophages and T cells. Furthermore, specific proteolytic substrates cleaved by Cathepsin S have also been identified which have reinforced our hypothesis that this protease facilitates key steps within tumours leading to their invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118781
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number10
Early online date23 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Sara H. McDowell is funded by a Breast Cancer Now studentship [2017NovPhD1005] and Samantha A. Gallaher is funded by a DfE postgraduate studentship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Angiogenesis
  • Cathepsin
  • Macrophage
  • Microenvironment
  • Protease
  • Tumour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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