, Volume 438, Issue 2, pp 121-128

Protein expression of matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9 and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase 1 and 2 in papillary thyroid carcinomas

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Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) play an important role in tumor invasion and metastasis. There have been only a few studies on the protein expression of MMPs and TIMPs in thyroid carcinomas. Therefore, we investigated the protein expression of MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 in 86 papillary thyroid carcinomas using immunohistochemistry, semiquantitative scoring morphometry of immunohistochemistry, gelatin zymography, and western blotting. We also examined the correlations between the immunohistochemical scores and several clinicopathological parameters. The immunoreactivities of MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-1, and TIMP-2 were largely located in the tumor cells or non-tumor follicular cells and to a much lesser extent in the fibroblasts and endothelial cells in the tumor and non-tumor regions. Compared with non-tumor regions, these four proteins tended to be overexpressed in the tumor cells; the overexpression was found in 64 of 86 (74%), 80 of 86 (93%), 79 of 86 (92%), and 64 of 86 (74%) cases for MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-1, and TIMP-2, respectively. Gelatin zymography showed distinct bands of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in tumor extracts but vague bands in non-tumor extracts. Western blotting revealed the specific bands of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in both tumor and non-tumor extracts. Morphometric scoring revealed that high expression of these proteins significantly correlated with large tumor size, presence of lymph node metastasis, high clinical stage, high intrathyroidal invasion, and high vascular invasion. These data suggest that MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-1, and TIMP-2 proteins and activities are increased in tumors cells of papillary thyroid carcinomas and that they play an important role in the invasion and metastasis of papillary thyroid carcinomas.

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