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Oncogene. 2006 Jan 26;25(4):650-5.

TIMP-3 deficiency in the host, but not in the tumor, enhances tumor growth and angiogenesis.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Tumor cells, stromal cell compartment and the extracellular matrix (ECM) together generate a multifaceted tumor microenvironment. Matrix metalloproteinases and their tissue inhibitors (TIMPs) provide a means for tumor-stromal interaction during tumorigenesis. Among TIMPs, TIMP-3 is uniquely localized to the ECM and is frequently silenced in human cancers. Here, we asked whether the absence of TIMP-3 in the tumor cell or the host affects the process of tumorigenesis. Timp-3(-/-) ES-cell clones were generated and used to develop teratomas in nude mice. Timp-3(-/-) teratomas showed similar tumor take, growth, and angiogenesis compared to timp-3(+/+) teratomas. To study the effect of TIMP-3 ablation in the host stroma, we measured the growth kinetics of subcutaneous B16F10 melanomas in timp-3(-/-) and wild-type littermates. Tumors grew significantly faster in timp-3(-/-) than in wild-type mice and their CD31 content was significantly higher indicating increased angiogenesis. Augmented angiogenesis in timp-3(-/-) mice was directly tested using Matrigel plug and Gelfoam assays. In response to FGF-2, timp-3(-/-) endothelial cells invaded more efficiently, leading to enhanced formation of functional blood vessels. Thus, TIMP-3 deficiency in the host, but not in the tumor per se, leads to enhanced tumor growth and angiogenesis. TIMP-3 located within the tumor microenvironment inhibits tumorigenesis.

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