Differential expression patterns of MMPs and their role in the invasion of epithelial premalignant tumors and invasive cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma

Mi Ryung Roh, Zhenlong Zheng, Hyun Sook Kim, Ji Eun Kwon, Hei Cheul Jeung, Sun Young Rha, Kee Yang Chung

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Co-expression of several members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family is characteristic of human malignant tumors. MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-2, and MT1-MMP are thought to be involved in the process of destruction of basement membranes and stromal invasion by neoplastic epithelial cells. In this study, we investigated the expression and role of MMPs in cutaneous oncogenesis. Tissue microarray consisting of 62 squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), 32 Bowen's disease (BD) samples, 25 normal epidermis samples were obtained for the study. MMP-2,-9, MT1-MMP and TIMP-2 proteins were examined by immunohistochemical staining and mRNA level was detected by quantitative RT-PCR in fresh tissues consisting of 5 cutaneous SCCs and paired normal epidermis samples. Gelatinase activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9 was investigated by gelatin zymography and protein levels of MT1-MMP and TIMP-2 were measured by western blot in 2 human SCC cell lines. The invasive property was evaluated with invasion assays using Transwell filters. SCC exhibited significantly increased MMP-2, MT1-MMP and decreased TIMP-2 mRNA and protein expression compared to that of the normal epithelium. Immunohistochemical staining revealed that MT1-MMP was strongly expressed on the invasive front of SCCs, whereas BD exhibited higher expression around the dyskeratotic cells in the epithelium. In comparison with the expression observed in BD, SCC exhibited significantly increased MMP-2 expression. In addition, high MMP-2 and MT1-MMP expression and low TIMP-2 expression had a significant positive correlation with the invasiveness of SCC cell lines in vitro. Our results revealed significantly increased MT1-MMP and MMP-2 expression and decreased TIMP-2 expression in cutaneous SCC, and the expression correlated with the invasiveness of SCC cell lines. Therefore, the expression of these factors in cutaneous tumors may serve as an indicator of tumor aggressiveness and invasion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-242
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental and Molecular Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology(2010-0016710) and by a faculty research grant of Yonsei University College of Medicine for 2010 (6-2010-0067).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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