Coordinate expression of membrane type-matrix metalloproteinases-2 and 3 (MT2-MMP and MT3-MMP) and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) in primary and metastatic melanoma cells

Eur J Dermatol. Sep-Oct 2001;11(5):420-3.


Expression of MMP-2 in melanoma cells has been demonstrated to be involved in the degradation of extracellular matrix during melanoma growth and to correlate with later melanoma metastasis. MMP-2 is considered to be activated by membrane-associated matrix metalloproteinases (MT-MMPs). To know whether MT-MMPs are involved in the activation of MMP-2 in melanoma cells, immunohistochemical studies were performed in primary and metastatic melanoma by use of the antibodies for MT1-MMP, MT2-MMP and MT3-MMP. Expression of MT1-MMP, MT2-MMP, MT3-MMP and MMP-2 in nevocellular nevus (n = 5), dysplastic nevus (n = 2) and juvenile melanoma (n = 3) was undetectable or detected in only a few cells. Superficial spreading melanoma (SSM) (n = 3) and acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM) (n = 3) showed a moderate expression of MT1 approximately 3-MMP. In nodular melanoma (NM) (n = 2) and metastatic melanoma (n = 3), MT1 approximately 3-MMP was more intensely expressed. Double immunofluorescence demonstrated a consistent colocalization of MT2-MMP/MMP-2 and MT3-MMP/MMP-2 in the NM and metastatic melanoma cells. The colocalization of MT2,3-MMP and MMP-2 in nodular and metastatic melanoma cells suggests that MT-MMPs and MMP-2 co-operate in the invasive and metastatic process of melanoma cells.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 15
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 16
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / biosynthesis
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases, Membrane-Associated
  • Melanoma / enzymology*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Metalloendopeptidases / biosynthesis*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Skin / enzymology
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology


  • MMP15 protein, human
  • MMP16 protein, human
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 15
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 16
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases, Membrane-Associated
  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2