Emerging clinical importance of the cancer biomarkers kallikrein-related peptidases (KLK) in female and male reproductive organ malignancies
Tumor tissue-associated KLKs (kallikrein-related peptidases) are clinically important biomarkers that may allow prognosis of the cancer disease and/or prediction of response/failure of cancer patients to cancer-directed drugs. Regarding the female/male reproductive tract, remarkably, all of the fifteen KLKs are expressed in the normal prostate, breast, cervix uteri, and the testis, whereas the uterus/endometrium and the ovary are expressing a limited number of KLKs only. Most of the information regarding elevated expression of KLKs in tumor-affected organs is available for ovarian cancer; depicting them as valuable biomarkers in the cancerous phenotype. In contrast, for breast cancer, a series of KLKs was found to be downregulated. However, in breast cancer, KLK4 is elevated which is also true for ovarian and prostate cancer. In such cases, selective synthetic KLK inhibitors that aim at blocking the proteolytic activities of certain KLKs may serve as future candidate therapeutic drugs to interfere with tumor progression and metastasis.