University of Oulu

Matrix metalloproteinases -2 and -9 and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases -1 and -2 in gynaecological cancers

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Author: Rauvala, Marita1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
2University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2006
Publish Date: 2006-09-26
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 4 of Oulu University Hospital, on October 6th, 2006, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor Veli-Matti Kähäri
Docent Johanna Mäenpää


The invasion of a tumour through tissue limiting basement membranes is the critical step in malignant growth. Gelatinases (MMP-2 and MMP-9) are endopeptidases capable of degrading extracellular and pericellular matrix proteins such as collagen IV, the major component of basement membranes. An over-expression of these gelatinases is generally found in malignant tumours and is linked to impaired prognosis in many cancer types. Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs), endogenous regulators of the MMP activity, have recently been introduced as multifunctional proteins, which have paradoxical roles in tumour growth. Little data exists on the clinical significance of the gelatinases and TIMPs in gynaecological cancers.

In this study the clinical significance of the gelatinases was studied in endometrial and uterine cervical cancers by using immunohistochemical staining with specific antibodies. In epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) these enzymes and their TIMPs were studied in the preoperative serum samples using ELISA assay. Additionally, sequential serum measurements were performed during chemotherapy to evaluate them as treatment response indicators.

In endometrial cancer, MMP-9 positivity correlated to a poor histological differentiation and an advanced clinical stage. High MMP-2 expression correlated to a poor differentiation, and unfavourable survival in stage I cancers, with mortality rates of 5% and 19% in patients with MMP-2 negative versus intensively MMP-2 positive tumours, respectively. In cervical cancers high MMP-2 expression correlated to an increased mortality risk. High MMP-9 expression was connected to a good differentiation of a tumour.

In EOC, a high circulating TIMP-1 value correlated to all the examined aggressive features of EOC, including poor survival. The serum measurements of TIMP-1 were uninformative about response evaluation during chemotherapy but paradoxically, an increase in gelatinases and TIMP-2 seemed to reflect a good response to treatment.

In conclusion, the data from this study show that high MMP-2 expression in tumour tissue could be prognostic in endometrial and cervical cancer, and preoperative circulating TIMP-1 could serve as an additional prognostic marker in EOC. Studies with larger patient cohorts would be necessary to further explore the value of these enzymes in clinical practice in gynaecological cancers.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-8187-X
ISBN Print: 951-42-8186-1
Issue: 886
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2006. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.