Cathepsin S as an immunomodulator in lung cancer

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Cathepsin S (CatS), a cysteine protease, plays a vital role in the cleavage of the Major Histocompatibility Complex II (MHC Class II) invariant chain for antigen processing and presentation to CD4+ helper T-cells. In chronic inflammatory lung conditions and certain cancers, CatS is highly upregulated. Both tumour cell and macrophage-derived CatS has been shown to promote tumourigenesis. In the tumour microenvironment (TME), infiltrating tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs) with a pro-tumour phenotype have been cited as a key cell source of CatS, and it has been shown that CatS plays a role in maintaining this phenotype. However, little data exists on the role of CatS in lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD), therefore, this study aimed to determine the functionality of CatS in LUAD by pharmacological and genetic ablation approaches.

Thesis is embargoed until 31 December 2028.
Date of AwardDec 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsThe Entwistle Family Scholarship, Medical Research Council & Irish Association for Cancer Research
SupervisorDonna Small (Supervisor), Emma Kerr (Supervisor) & Christopher Scott (Supervisor)


  • cathepsin S
  • protease
  • macrophages
  • immunology
  • Lung cancer
  • lung
  • Non Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • in vitro

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