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J Dent Res. 2002 Dec;81(12):831-5.

MMP-9 activation by tumor trypsin-2 enhances in vivo invasion of human tongue carcinoma cells.

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Department of Diagnostics, Institute of Dentistry, University of Oulu, PO Box 5281, FIN-90014, Oulu, Finland.


Various human cancer cells express tumor-associated trypsinogen-2 (TAT-2), which can efficiently activate matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in vitro. MMP-2 and MMP-9 are particularly associated with the invasive malignant potential of several tumors. To investigate the role of TAT-2 in tumor invasion, we overexpressed TAT-2 in two malignant human squamous cell carcinoma cell lines of tongue and in non-malignant human papilloma virus transformed gingival keratinocytes. The TAT-2 overexpression significantly increased the levels of active MMP-9 in the most malignant cell line. TAT-2-transfected cells intravasated (invaded blood vessels) up to 60% more efficiently than did the control cells in an in vivo chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane invasion model. This increased intravasation was almost completely abolished by a specific tumor-associated trypsin inhibitor (TATI). These results indicate that TAT-2 has a role in the invasive growth of tumors, either alone or in cascade with gelatinases, especially by generating active MMP-9.

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