Hippokratia 2009, 13(1):23-31
KA. Paschos, D. Canovas, NC. Bird
Enzymes play a crucial role in the progression of colorectal cancer and the development of metastases. They facilitate malignant cell invasion through the degradation of the extracellular matrix, the rupture of the basement membrane and the derangement of cell-cell adhesion. Furthermore, they promote tumour cell migration and support the evolution of metastatic lesions in the liver and other organs, through multiple molecular mechanisms, including growth factor release and angiogenesis. Urokinase plasminogen activator system, matrix metalloproteinases, heparanase and autocrine motility factor constitute important enzymatic complexes which assist colorectal cancer growth, with potential clinical applications in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.