Cathepsin S is a lysosomal cysteine protease implicated in tumourigenesis with key roles in invasion and angiogenesis. We have previously shown that the specific inhibition of Cathepsin S using a monoclonal antibody (Fsn0503) blocks colorectal carcinoma tumour growth and angiogenesis in vivo.We investigated whether Cathepsin S expression levels were affected by chemotherapy in human cancer cell lines by RT-PCR. Using colorectal xenograft models, we examined the therapeutic benefit of Cathepsin S inhibition using Fsn0503 in combination with a metronomic dosing regimen of CPT-11. We analysed the effects of the combination therapy on tumour progression and on tumour vascularisation by immunohistochemical staining of tumours.Cathepsin S expression levels are upregulated in HCT116, LoVo, Colo205 cell lines and HUVECs after exposure to CPT-11 in vitro. The administration of Fsn0503 in combination with CPT-11 significantly attenuated tumour growth in comparison to CPT-11 alone in colorectal HCT116 xenograft models. Furthermore, analysis of tumour vascularisation revealed that this was also significantly disrupted by the combination treatment.These results show that the combination of Cathepsin S inhibition with CPT-11 enhances the therapeutic effect of the chemotherapy. This rationale may have clinical application in the treatment of colorectal cancer upon further evaluation.
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