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Cancer Res. 1993 Jan 1;53(1):140-6.

M(r) 92,000 type IV collagenase is increased in plasma of patients with colon cancer and breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Research, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Northport, New York 11768.


Overproduction of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) is a common characteristic of metastatic cancer cells. Since MMPs can be identified in plasma, we proposed that enhanced MMP-9 secretion by invasive cancer cells may be detected by plasma assay. To this end, we developed a specific sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay which uses two mouse monoclonal antibodies to human M(r) 92,000 type IV collagenase (MMP-9). The plasma concentration of MMP-9 (mean +/- SD) in 60 healthy subjects (9 +/- 11 ng/ml), 136 patients without cancer, and 179 patients with cancer of the lung, genitourinary tract, or lymphomas-leukemias did not differ significantly. In contrast, plasma MMP-9 was significantly increased (P < 0.01) in 122 patients with gastrointestinal tract cancer and breast cancer (18 +/- 23 and 21 +/- 22 ng/ml, respectively). Whereas carcinoembryonic antigen levels were significantly increased in patients with stage IV gastrointestinal cancer, MMP-9 concentrations were not significantly increased in patients with metastatic disease as compared to those with nonmetastatic cancer. Combining both assays improves sensitivity of detection of colon cancer. MMP-9 was also significantly increased during pregnancy which is consistent with the extensive ongoing tissue remodeling and the leaching of the tissue proteinase into plasma.

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