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Br J Cancer. 2002 Jun 17;86(12):1876-83.

Tissue levels of active matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 in colorectal cancer.

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Department of Surgery, University Medical Centre St Radboud, Nijmegen PO Box 9101, 6500 HB, The Netherlands.


The bioactivity of matrix metalloproteinases was studied in tissues from colorectal cancer patients by means of both quantitative gelatin zymography and a fluorometric activity assay. Next to paired samples of tumour tissue and distant normal mucosa (n=73), transitional tissue was analysed from a limited (n=33) number of patients. Broad-spectrum matrix metalloproteinase activity and both the active and latent forms of the gelatinases matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 were higher in tumour than in normal mucosa. The ratio's between active and latent forms of matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 were highest in tumour tissue and normal mucosa, respectively. Matrix metalloproteinase-2 levels, both active and latent forms, correlated inversely with stage of disease, the tumours without synchronous distant metastases containing significantly (P=0.005) more active matrix metalloproteinase-2 than the others. At much lower levels of activity, the same trend was observed in distant normal mucosa. The level of latent form of matrix metalloproteinase-9 in tumour depended on tumour location. Neither the active form of matrix metalloproteinase-9 nor broad-spectrum matrix metalloproteinase activity in tumour tissue did correlate with any of the clinicopathological parameters investigated. The results demonstrate explicit differences between the activity of matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9, indicating different roles for both gelatinases in tumour progression. Such data are necessary in order to develop rational anti-cancer therapies based on inhibition of specific matrix metalloproteinases.

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