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J Biochem Mol Biol. 2003 Jan 31;36(1):128-37.

Roles of matrix metalloproteinases in tumor metastasis and angiogenesis.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon 305-701, Korea.


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), zinc dependent proteolytic enzymes, cleave extracellular matrix (ECM: collagen, laminin, firbronectin, etc) as well as non-matrix substrates (growth factors, cell surface receptors, etc). The deregulation of MMPs is involved in many diseases, such as tumor metastasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and periodontal disease. Metastasis is the major cause of death among cancer patients. In this review, we will focus on the roles of MMPs in tumor metastasis. The process of metastasis involves a cascade of linked, sequential steps that involve multiple host-tumor interactions. Specifically, MMPs are involved in many steps of tumor metastasis. These include tumor invasion, migration, host immune escape, extravasation, angiogenesis, and tumor growth. Therefore, without MMPs, the tumor cell cannot perform successful metastasis. The activities of MMPs are tightly regulated at the gene transcription levels, zymogen activation by proteolysis, and inhibition of active forms by endogenous inhibitors, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP), and RECK. The detailed regulations of MMPs are described in this review.

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