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Int J Oncol. 1998 Oct;13(4):699-704.

Active-MMP2 in cancer cell nests of oral cancer patients: correlation with lymph node metastasis.

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Second Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Tokushima University School of Dentistry, Tokushima 770, Japan.


We examined the gelatinolytic activity in human oral squamous-cell carcinoma tissues in order to evaluate the capability of intravasation and extravasation of cancer cells. By a microdissection-zymography, we demonstrated separately the gelatinolytic activities in cancer cell nests and stroma adjacent to the cancer cells. The gelatinolytic activities, such as pro-matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)9 and active-MMP2 in most of cancer cell nests were much higher than those of normal gingival epithelium. Moreover, the activities of active-MMP2 in cancer cell nests of metastatic cancers were significantly higher than those of non-metastatic cancers (p<0.05). These results suggest that active-MMP2 in cancer cells can be a predictive marker for metastasis formation in oral squamous-cell carcinoma patients.

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