Membrane-bound peptidases play a key role in the control of growth, differentiation, and signal transduction of many cellular systems by degrading bioactive peptides. Thus, abnormal changes in their expression pattern and catalytic function result in altered peptide activation, which contributes to neoplastic transformation or progression. In this review, we describe our recent findings along with work from other groups on the expression and biological functions of membrane-bound peptidases in cancer, focusing on the regulatory roles of three peptidases, aminopeptidase A (APA), neutral endopeptidase (NEP) and placental leucine aminopeptidase (P-LAP), in the progression of gynecologic malignancies. APA, NEP and P-LAP are differentially expressed and localized in various gynecologic malignancies including cervical cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer and choriocarcinoma in a tumor-type specific pattern. The expression levels are up- or down-regulated depending on histological grade or disease progression. These peptidases play regulatory roles in tumor cell proliferation, invasion or angiogenesis via degradation/inactivation of target peptides such as angiotensin II, endothelin-1 and oxytocin, which act on cancer cells as stimulatory or inhibitory factors. Thus, membrane-bound peptidases may become not only a new diagnostic/prognostic marker, but also a novel molecular target for the treatment of gynecologic malignancies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry