Lung cancer is currently the Leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Expression of kallikrein-related peptidases (KRP/hK/KLK) may be induced during lung carcinogenesis. To test the hypothesis that KRP/hK, previously identified in the skin (KRP/hK5, 7) and brain (KRP/hK6, 8), are expressed in lung tumours, experiments were designed to investigate their localization in four malignant sub-types of human Lung cancer. Using specific antibodies, expression of these KRP/hK was determined in archived lung tumour sections of the four subtypes, and in normal skin, brain, lung and submandibular gland tissue sections. Immunoperoxidase labelled sections were visualized by brightfield microscopy.In the squamous cell carcinoma, small cell carcinoma and carcinoid tumour, 40-90% of the malignant cells showed positive cytoplasmic labelling for KRP/hK5, 7, 6 and 8 (intensity grade 2+/3+). In the adenocarcinoma there was no cytoplasmic labelling for any of the KRP/hK, but the nuclei of 20% of the tumour cells were labelled for KRP/hK5, 7 and 8 (intensity grade 2+/3+). Further studies are required to determine the functional significance of the expression of KRP/hK in human lung carcinomas, and whether any of these proteins may be potential biomarkers for specific sub-types of lung cancer. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.