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Clin Exp Metastasis. 1999;17(7):555-66.

Expression of matrix metalloproteinases and their inhibitors in human brain tumors.

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Laboratoire de médecine moléculaire, Centre de cancérologie Charles-Bruneau, Hôpital Ste-Justine-UQAM, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


Sixty human brain tumors, classified according to the New World Health Organization (WHO) classification including, grade I schwannomas, meningiomas and pilocytic astrocytomas, grade II astrocytomas, grade III anaplastic astrocytomas, grade IV glioblastomas, grade III anaplastic oligodendrogliomas and grade IV glioblastomas and lung and melanoma metastases were analyzed for the expression of three matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), two tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs) and for MMP activity. Some correlation was found between MMP expression and the degree of malignancy. Western blotting analysis revealed a more uniform pattern of distribution of MMP-2 (gelatinase A) than of MMP-9 (gelatinase B) and MMP-12 (metalloelastase) among tumors. MMP-9 levels were found to be significantly higher in grade III anaplastic astrocytomas and anaplastic oligodendrogliomas than those in grade I schwannomas and meningiomas. Anaplastic astrocytomas and Grade IV glioblastomas expressed significantly higher levels MMP-12 than grade I meningiomas. All sixty tumors showed a similar pattern of activity in zymography, proMMP-9 being the major species detected. Interestingly, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 expression levels were especially low in tumors of grade II and grade III but significantly higher in tumors of grade I, particularly in schwannomas. Taken together, these data suggest that: 1) a balance between MMPs and TIMPs has an important role to play in human brain tumors; 2) TIMP expression may be valuable markers for tumor malignancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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