SCCA (Squamous cell carcinoma antigen) is a tumor marker antigen associated with cervical cancer that has served as a diagnostic serum marker for squamous cell carcinomas of the cervix, head, neck, and lung (1). It is a member of the serpin superfamily and fundamental for the control of proteolysis through a known inhibitory function of different proteases (2). SCCA is an atypical serpin in that it exhibits cross-class activity, inhibiting papain-like cysteine proteases (cathepsins L, K, and S) rather than serine proteases as targeted by most family members (1). It also plays a role in the modulation of apoptosis by different mechanisms, both in inflammatory processes and cancer. In particular, SCCA significantly attenuates apoptosis by contrasting cytochrome c release from the mitochondria and by antichemotactic effect for NK cells (3).
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