The calpain system and cancer

Sarah J. Storr, Neil O. Carragher, Margaret C. Frame, Tim Parr, Stewart G. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


The calpains are a conserved family of cysteine proteinases that catalyse the controlled proteolysis of many specific substrates. Calpain activity is implicated in several fundamental physiological processes, including cytoskeletal remodelling, cellular signalling, apoptosis and cell survival. Calpain expression is altered during tumorigenesis, and the proteolysis of numerous substrates, such as inhibitors of nuclear factor-kappa B (I kappa B), focal adhesion proteins (including, focal adhesion kinase and talin) and proto-oncogenes (for example, MYC), has been implicated in tumour pathogenesis. Recent evidence indicates that the increased expression of certain family members might influence the response to cancer therapies, providing justification for the development of novel calpain inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-374
Number of pages11
JournalNature Reviews Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


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