Two novel peptides that inhibit cathepsin B were isolated from a tryptic and chymotryptic hydrolysate of human serum albumin, and designated as Cabin-A1 and -A2. Cabin-A1 and -A2 were purified by reversed-phase HPLC and identified as Ser-Leu-His-Thr-Leu-Phe and Phe-Gln-Asn-Ala-Leu, respectively. These peptides correspond to f(65-70) and f(403-407) of human serum albumin. Human albutensin A (Ala-Phe-Lys-Ala-Trp-Ala-Val-Ala-Arg), which corresponds to f(210-218), was also isolated as a potent cathepsin B inhibitor. Synthetic Cabin-A1, -A2, and human albutensin A showed dose-dependent inhibition of cathepsin B, with K(i) values of 2.4, 290, and 3.8 microM, respectively.