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Folia Histochem Cytobiol. 2012 Apr 24;50(1):12-9. doi: 10.2478/18691.

The role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their inhibitors (TIMPs) in the development of esophageal cancer.

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Department of Biochemical Diagnostics, Medical University of Bialystok, Waszyngtona Str. 15a, 15-269 Bialystok, Poland.


Esophageal cancer (EC) is one of the most aggressive malignant tumors of the gastrointestinal tract. There are two distinct histological types of EC: esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. Etiologic factors and the patterns of incidence of both subtypes are different. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their tissue inhibitors (TIMPs) play an important role in esophageal carcinogenesis. Gellatinases MMP-2 and MMP-9 are able to degrade collagen IV from basement membranes and extracellular matrix which is related to tumor progression, including invasion, metastasis, growth and angiogenesis. It has been shown that increased expression of MMPs plays a crucial role in the development of several human malignancies, including esophageal cancer. The activity of MMPs is regulated by their endogenous natural inhibitors (TIMPs). Among these, the roles of TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 in EC development, tumor progression and formation of metastases have been most extensively characterized and best recognized.

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