Extracellular proteolysis in glioblastoma progression and therapeutics

Agathe Quesnel, George S. Karagiannis, Panagiota S. Filippou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Gliomas encompass highly invasive primary central nervous system (CNS) tumours of glial cell origin with an often-poor clinical prognosis. Of all gliomas, glioblastoma is the most aggressive form of primary brain cancer. Current treatments in glioblastoma are insufficient due to the invasive nature of brain tumour cells, which typically results in local tumour recurrence following treatment. The latter represents the most important cause of mortality in glioblastoma and underscores the necessity for an in-depth understanding of the underlying mechanisms. Interestingly, increased synthesis and secretion of several proteolytic enzymes within the tumour microenvironment, such as matrix metalloproteinases, lysosomal proteases, cathepsins and kallikreins for extracellular-matrix component degradation may play a major role in the aforementioned glioblastoma invasion mechanisms. These proteolytic networks are key players in establishing and maintaining a tumour microenvironment that promotes tumour cell survival, proliferation, and migration. Indeed, the targeted inhibition of these proteolytic enzymes has been a promisingly useful therapeutic strategy for glioblastoma management in both preclinical and clinical development. We hereby summarize current advances on the biology of the glioblastoma tumour microenvironment, with a particular emphasis on the role of proteolytic enzyme families in glioblastoma invasion and progression, as well as on their subsequent prognostic value as biomarkers and their therapeutic targeting in the era of precision medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number188428
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Reviews on Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Extracellular proteolysis
  • Glioblastoma
  • Invasion
  • Matrix metalloproteinases
  • Therapeutic targets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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