Aspirin inhibits matrix metalloproteinase-2 activity, increases E-cadherin production, and inhibits in vitro invasion of tumor cells

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2001 Apr 6;282(3):671-7. doi: 10.1006/bbrc.2001.4637.


Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a widely used anti-inflammatory drug. Recently, aspirin was shown to reduce the risk of development of cancer and mortality from it. Tumor metastasis is the most important cause of cancer death. The aim of the present study was to investigate if aspirin affects the invasion of cancer cells. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and cell adhesion molecules play important roles in the modulation of tumor invasion. Gelatin-based zymography assay showed that aspirin inhibited MMP-2 activity of SK-Hep-1 cancer cells. Matrigel-based chemoinvasion assay showed that aspirin inhibited in vitro invasion of SK-Hep-1 cancer cells. Aspirin treatment also increased the production of the cell adhesion molecule, E-cadherin, in Hep G2 cancer cells. Aspirin is a cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitor. Treatment of cells with another COX inhibitor, sulindac, also inhibited MMP-2 activity and increased E-cadherin production of cells. These results indicate that aspirin can modulate both MMP-2 and E-cadherin production and therein may possess antimetastatic effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Aspirin / pharmacology*
  • Cadherins / biosynthesis*
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / physiopathology*
  • Protease Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Sulindac / pharmacology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cadherins
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Sulindac
  • Aspirin