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Hyaluronan and hyaluronidase in genitourinary tumors

Frontiers in Bioscience
Frontiers in BioScience
Publication Date
  • Article
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Genitourinary cancers are the most frequently diagnosed cancers in men and the fifth most common in women. Management of disease through accurate and cost effective early diagnostic markers, as well as identification of valid prognostic indicators, has contributed significantly to improved treatment outcomes. In this review, we will discuss the function, regulation and clinical utility of hyaluronan (HA), genes encoding its metabolic enzymes and receptors that mediate its cellular effects. Specific HA synthase (HAS) and hyaluronidase (HAase) genes encode the enzymes that produce HA polymers and oligosaccharides, respectively. Differential effects of these enzymes in progression of genitourinary tumors are determined by the relative balance between HAS and HAase levels, as well as the distribution of receptors. The genes are regulated in a complex fashion at the transcriptional and post-translational levels, but also by epigenetic events, alternative mRNA splicing, and subcellular localization. Importantly, the major tumor-derived HAase enzyme, HYAL-1, either alone or together with HA, is an accurate diagnostic and prognostic marker for genitourinary tumors.

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