, Volume 24, Issue 8, pp 647-656
Date: 30 Oct 2007

Breast cancer progression: insights into multifaceted matrix metalloproteinases

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The restricted view of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) as simple destroyers of extracellular matrix components has largely ignored their substantial contribution in many aspects of cancer development and metastatic dissemination. Over the last few years, the relevance of MMPs in the processing of a large array of extracellular and cell surface-associated proteins has grown considerably. Our knowledge about the complex functions of MMPs and how their contribution may differ throughout cancer progression is rapidly expanding. These new findings provide several explanations for the lack of success of MMP inhibition in clinical trials. A complete understanding of MMP biology is needed before considering them, their substrates or their products as therapeutic targets. In this review, we explore the different faces of MMP implication in breast cancer progression by considering both clinical and fundamental aspects.