Nature Reviews Cancer 7, 800-808 (October 2007) | doi:10.1038/nrc2228

Article series: Tumour Microenvironment

OpinionEmerging roles of proteases in tumour suppression

Carlos López-Otín1 & Lynn M. Matrisian2  About the authors


Proteases have long been associated with cancer progression because of their ability to degrade extracellular matrices, which facilitates invasion and metastasis. However, recent studies have shown that these enzymes target a diversity of substrates and favour all steps of tumour evolution. Unexpectedly, the post-trial studies have also revealed proteases with tumour-suppressive effects. These effects are associated with more than 30 different enzymes that belong to three distinct protease classes. What are the clinical implications of these findings?

Author affiliations

  1. Carlos López-Otín is at the Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Facultad de Medicina, Instituto Universitario de Oncología, Universidad de Oviedo, 33006 Oviedo, Spain.
  2. Lynn M. Matrisian is at the Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-6840, USA.

Correspondence to: Carlos López-Otín1 Email:


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