Altered plasma matrix metalloproteinase-9/tissue metalloproteinase-1 concentration during the early postoperative period in patients with colorectal cancer

  • I. KirmanEmail author
  • S. Jain
  • V. Cekic
  • A. Belizon
  • E. Balik
  • P. Sylla
  • T. Arnell
  • K. A. Forde
  • R. L. Whelan



The authors have previously demonstrated that insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) is depleted in plasma for 1 to 3 days after major open surgery (OS), but not after laparoscopic surgery (LS). After surgery, IGFP-3 cleavage occurs rapidly and is likely attributable to altered plasma proteolytic activity. This study aimed to assess plasma proteolysis after both open and closed colorectal resection and, if possible, to identify a protease/protease inhibitor system affected by surgery.


Plasma from 88 patients with colorectal cancer (stages I–III) who underwent resection was obtained preoperatively (pre-OP) and on postoperative days (POD) 1 to 3. Plasma proteolytic activity was assessed via zymography. On the basis of the results, specific protease and protease inhibitor concentrations were next measured via enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA). Statistical analysis was performed using Wilcoxon’s test.


Early after surgery, zymography showed a predominant band representing a 92-kDa gelatinase corresponding to a proform of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), a protease known to cleave IGFBP-3. In OS patients, the mean concentration of plasma MMP-9 was significantly higher on POD 1 than at pre-OP (p < 0.003). On POD 2 and 3, no differences were noted. In the LS group, the mean levels of MMP-9 before and after surgery were comparable. The levels of a natural MMP-9 inhibitor, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1), also were measured. In the OS group, the level of TIMP-1 was significantly higher on POD 1 (p < 0.0003) and POD 2 (p < 0.01) and 3 (p < 0.01) than at pre-OP. In the LS group, a smaller but significant increase in TIMP-1 levels was found between the pre-OP sample and the POD 1 (p < 0.01) and POD 2 (p < 0.01) samples. No difference was noted on POD 3 (p = 0.1).


Open surgery, but not laparoscopic surgery, is accompanied by a short-lived significant increase in MMP-9 levels, which likely accounts for the decrease in IGFBP-3 levels observed after OS. The transitory nature of MMP-9 imbalance may be attributable to the increase in TIMP-1 levels postoperatively.


Colonic neoplasms Matrix metalloproteinase Metalloproteinase inhibitor Surgery 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Kirman
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Jain
    • 1
  • V. Cekic
    • 1
  • A. Belizon
    • 1
  • E. Balik
    • 1
  • P. Sylla
    • 1
  • T. Arnell
    • 1
  • K. A. Forde
    • 1
  • R. L. Whelan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Surgery, BB1702College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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