University of Oulu

The prognostic role of matrix metalloproteinase -2 and -9 (MMP-2, MMP-9) and their tissue inhibitors -1 and -2 (TIMP-1, TIMP-2) in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

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Author: Ruokolainen, Henni1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy
2Oulu University Hospital
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.9 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: 2005
Publish Date: 2005-12-07
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, for public discussion in the Auditorium 7 of Oulu University Hospital, on December 16th, 2005, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor Reidar Grénman
Professor Heikki Joensuu


Traditional clinicopathological factors are not accurate enough to predict the behavior of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The most powerful indicator of prognosis is the stage of the disease. New prognostic markers have, however, been searched for in order to better identify patient groups in need of different treatments or follow-up. Gelatinases (MMP-2, -9) are endopeptidases associated with tumor invasion and angiogenesis, and their tissue inhibitors (TIMP-1, -2) are also linked to cancer cell invasion and metastasis formation. In some cancer types they are even prognostic and relate with a more aggressive clinical course of the disease.

In the present work the expression and the clinical significance of tumor tissue and circulating immunoreactive proteins for MMP-2, -9, TIMP-1 and -2 were assessed in HNSCC. The study group included 74 patients with HNSCC and 44 healthy controls. The expression of immunoreactive proteins was examined in paraffin-embedded tumor sections by immunohistochemical staining using specific antibodies, and the pretreatment serum levels of those proteins were quantitatively measured by ELISA assay. Immunohistochemical overexpression of MMP-9 in tumor was for the first time found to predict the prognosis for shortened survival in HNSCC, the cause-specific survival rates being 45% and 92% and relapse-free survival being 42% and 79% in MMP-9 positive or negative cases, respectively. Additionally, tissue TIMP-1, MMP-2 and TIMP-2 positivity were all also linked with poorer survival of patients with HNSCC. However, these differences remained less distinct than with MMP-9. The expression of gelatinases and their inhibitors in tumor tissue was also an indicator for later lymph node or hematogenic relapses in HNSCC patients. Circulating MMP-9 and TIMP-1 levels were significantly higher in HNSCC patients than in healthy controls. Further, the cause-specific and relapse-free survival rates were lower among HNSCC patients with high MMP-9 and TIMP-1 serum levels compared to patients with low levels of circulating MMP-9 and TIMP-1. A significant correlation was shown between circulating MMP-9 and MMP-9 immunohistochemical staining in the corresponding tumors. No correlation was found between tissue or circulating levels of gelatinases or their inhibitors and the traditional clinical or histopathological factors, except for the association between tissue and circulating TIMP-1 and the size of the primary tumor.

Taken together, these results suggest that tissue expression of gelatinases and their inhibitors as well as pretreatment circulating MMP-9 and TIMP-1 levels could be prognostic in estimation of the clinical course of HNSCC. The results indicate further studies are needed with larger patient materials.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-7917-4
ISBN Print: 951-42-7916-6
Issue: 858
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2005. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.