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Cancer Res. 2001 Mar 15;61(6):2365-70.

Stimulation of mammary tumorigenesis by systemic tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase 4 gene delivery.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, The Long Island Campus for Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New Hyde Park, New York 11040, USA.


Tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinase (TIMPs) are multifunctional proteins with both matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitory effects and growth-regulatory activity. TIMPs inhibit MMP activity, suggesting a use for cancer gene therapy. However, here we report that systemic administration of human TIMP-4 by electroporation-mediated i.m. injection of naked TIMP-4 DNA stimulates tumorigenesis of human breast cancer cells in nude mice. Consistent with tumor stimulation, TIMP-4 up-regulates Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L) protein. TIMP-4 also inhibits apoptosis in human breast cancer cells in vitro and mammary tumors in vivo. A synthetic MMP inhibitor BB-94 did not have such antiapoptotic effect. Analysis of TIMP-4 expression in human mammary specimens indicates that TIMP-4 protein is increased in mammary carcinoma cells compared with normal mammary epithelial cells. These data indicate an antiapoptotic activity in breast cancer cells and a tumor-stimulating effect of TIMP-4 when administrated systemically.

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