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Cancer Res. 2005 Aug 1;65(15):6543-50.

Expression of membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase is associated with cervical carcinoma progression and invasion.

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Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School and Biostatistics Department, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2216, USA.


Membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) is frequently expressed by cancer cells and is believed to play an important role in cancer cell invasion and metastasis. However, little is known about the role of MT1-MMP in mediating invasiveness of cervical cancer cells. In this study, we examined MT1-MMP expression in 58 primary human cervical tissue specimens, including normal cervix, low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL), high-grade SILs (HSIL), and invasive carcinomas. We also evaluated MT1-MMP, MMP-2, and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 expression in several cervical cancer-derived cell lines, human papillomavirus (HPV)-immortalized keratinocytes, and keratinocytes derived from a LSIL. Using in situ hybridization techniques to study the cervical tissue specimens, we found that MT1-MMP expression increases with cervical tumor progression (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.66; P < 0.0001, exact test). Specifically, MT1-MMP expression is very low or absent in normal cervix and LSILs, is readily detectable in HSILs, and is very strongly expressed in nearly all invasive carcinomas. Most but not all cervical cancer-derived cell lines also expressed significant levels of MT1-MMP and MMP-2. Constitutive expression of exogenous MT1-MMP in cervical carcinoma-derived cells and HPV-immortalized keratinocytes with low endogenous levels of MT1-MMP induced invasiveness in collagen I, but this effect was not observed in LSIL-derived keratinocytes. Our results show that MT1-MMP is a key enzyme mediating cervical cancer progression. However, MT1-MMP alone is not always sufficient for inducing keratinocyte invasiveness at least in the collagen I invasion assay used in this study. Further studies of gene expression in preinvasive and invasive cervical cancers should assist with identification of additional critical factors mediating cervical cancer progression.

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