Membrane type 1-matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) is a member of the recently identified unique membrane-type subgroup in the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family. MT1-MMP has proteolytic activity against components of the extracellular matrix and activates progelatinase A (MMP-2) at the cell surface. In this study, we analyzed the expression of MT1-MMP mRNA in 45 cases of laryngeal carcinoma by RT-PCR and investigated the relationship between MT1-MMP expression and survival in 18 cases. The result showed that the expression of MT1-MMP mRNA was higher in tumor tissue than in corresponding normal tissue. The tumoral expression in clinical stage III was higher than in stage II. The tumoral expression level of MT1-MMP mRNA in patients with lymph node metastasis was signigicantly higher than those with negative lymph nodes. The patients with high expression level showed significantly poorer 5 year survival than those with low expression level. Collectively, our findings suggest that the high level of MT1-MMP expression is closely related to the invasion and metastasis of laryngeal carcinoma, and indicates poorer prognosis.