Characterizing human colorectal carcinomas by proteolytic profile

Mary Jo Murnane, Sania Shuja, Elisabetta Del Re, Jinguo Cai, Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue, Veronica Klepeis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Clinicopathologic staging of colorectal cancels cannot always predict aggressiveness or prognosis for a particular patient. We have used activity assays for cysteine proteinases, cathepsins B, L and H (CB, CL and CH) and matrix metalloproteinases, MMP-2 and MMP-9, to identify several, distinctive, reproducible proteolytic profiles in a large set of colorectal carcinomas. We observed that individual proteinases demonstrated specific and distinct levels of activity at different cancer stages, possibly reflecting non-random steps in a proteolytic cascade related to tumor development. We also observed that individual colon cancers fell into relatively few categories when characterized for the combined expression of three proteinases: CB, CL and MMP-9. Four proteolytic profiles, designated 'Early', 'Middle', 'Late', and 'High', could be used to define almost 80% of the colectal carcinomas analyzed. Such profiles, based on the expression of several proteinases in a given tumor, provided information independent of clinical stage and may identify crucial variations in tumor behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-216
Number of pages8
JournalIn Vivo
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Cathepsins
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Matrix metalloproteinases
  • Proteinases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology


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