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Pharmacotherapy. 2002 Jun;22(6):705-20.

Matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors: do they have a place in anticancer therapy?

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  • 1Clinical Pharmacology Research Core, Medical Oncology Clinical Research Unit Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of enzymes involved in degradation of extracellular matrix. An imbalance between MMPs and naturally occurring MMP inhibitors may cause excess extracellular matrix destruction, allowing cancer cells to invade surrounding tissues and metastasize, and permitting angiogenesis to occur. Inhibition of certain key MMPs may prevent angiogenesis, tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis. Gelatinases MMP-2 and MMP-9 are expressed during carcinogenesis and angiogenesis. Synthetic MMP inhibitors were designed to target these enzymes and potentially prevent the tumor growth and metastases associated with cancer.

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