, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 209-218

Type IV collagenases in invasive tumors

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The matrix metalloproteinases appear to be elevated in tumors with metastatic potential, and may well be involved in penetration of the basement membrane and degradation of extracellular proteins including type IV collagen. An imbalance between the 72 kDa and 92 kDa type IV collagenases and the associated tissue inhibitors of these metalloproteinases (TIMPs) may therefore have a role in the invasive phenotype. Cultured tumor cells with invasive potential secrete both type IV collagenases, though in tumors there is some evidence that the 72 kDa form at least may be produced by stromal cells at the invading tumor front rather than primarily by the tumor cells themselves, while the 92 kDa form may be synthesized in macrophages near the front. These collagenases are elevated in invasive as compared within situ tumor components, but their specific roles and prognostic significance are not yet established.