Cathepsin K modulates invasion, migration and adhesion of oral squamous cell carcinomas in vitro

K. Yamashita, M. Iwatake, K. Okamoto, S. I. Yamada, M. Umeda, T. Tsukuba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Cathepsin K was initially discovered as an osteoclast-specific cysteine proteinase, but the enzyme is also expressed in various cancers including oral squamous cell carcinomas. This study aimed to clarify the function of cathepsin K in oral squamous cell carcinomas. Materials and Methods: Expression levels of cathepsin K were examined in six types of cell carcinomas. Carcinomas overexpressing cathepsin K were constructed. Effects of cathepsin K overexpression and treatment with odanacatib, a specific cathepsin K inhibitor, on cell invasion, migration and adhesion were analysed. Results: Different levels of cathepsin K were expressed in carcinomas. Cathepsin K was predominantly localised in lysosomes. Cathepsin K overexpression impaired the proliferation of carcinomas. Invasion analysis showed that cathepsin K overexpression enhanced invasion and migration of carcinomas, whereas inhibition of cathepsin K by odanacatib caused the opposite effects in carcinomas. Cathepsin K overexpression also increased cell adhesion and slightly increased surface expression of the adhesion receptor CD29/integrin β1. Conclusions: The enhanced invasion of carcinomas resulting from cathepsin K overexpression is probably due to the increased cell migration and adhesion. Thus, cathepsin K is implicated not only in protein degradation but also in invasion, migration and adhesion of oral squamous cell carcinomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-525
Number of pages8
JournalOral Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • cathepsin K
  • invasion
  • oral squamous cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Dentistry(all)


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