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Anticancer Res. 2000 Mar-Apr;20(2B):1085-91.

Limited value of preoperative serum analyses of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-2, MMP-9) and tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMP-1, TIMP-2) in colorectal cancer.

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Department of Surgery, Umeå University Hospital, Sweden.



We studied whether preoperative serum levels of free MMP-2, the MMP-2/TIMP-2 complex, and total amounts of MMP-9, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 correlated to the tumor stage and prognosis in colorectal cancer.


Samples from 158 patients operated on for colorectal cancer (100 colon, 58 rectum) and samples from 80 healthy blood donors were analyzed using an ELISA technique. One hundred and thirty-three patients were resected for cure, (31, 61, and 41 in Dukes' stages A, B, and C, respectively). At follow-up in January 1998, 44 patients had died from their cancer after a median time 14 months (range 2-55). Fifteen patients died without tumor relapse. Ninety-nine patients were alive after, a median time of 46 months (range 17-68).


Wide, overlapping ranges were observed for all factors both in the patients and in the control group. The patients as compared to the control group had significantly higher levels of free MMP-2 and total amounts of MMP-9, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2, whereas the level of the MMP-2/TIMP-2 complex was significantly lower. TIMP-1 was significantly higher in Dukes' D compared to Dukes' A-C cases; the other factors did not correlate to tumor stage. Elevated TIMP-2 levels (median cut-off limit), only, correlated to worse prognosis when analysed in all patients (p < 0.05). None of the factors (median cut-off limit) correlated to survival in Dukes' A-C patients; analyses based on the upper quartile cut-off limit demonstrated that elevated MMP-2 levels correlated to shorter survival time (p < 0.05).


Serum analyses of free MMP-2 the MMP-2/TIMP-2 complex and total amounts of MMP-9, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 are of limited value for tumor staging and prognosis in colorectal cancer.

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