Human collagenase-3 (MMP-13) is a matrix metalloproteinase originally identified in breast carcinomas. Recent studies have revealed that this enzyme is also produced by a variety of malignant tumors including head and neck carcinomas, chondrosarcomas and basal cell carcinomas of the skin. In all cases, the expression of collagenase-3 is associated with aggressive tumors. Different cytokines, growth factors and tumor promoters are able to up-regulate collagenase-3 expression in tumor cells or in stromal cells surrounding epithelial tumor cells. Functional analysis of the collagenase-3 gene promoter has allowed the identification of AP-1 and OSE-2 elements mediating, at least in part, its expression in both normal and pathological conditions.