Background: MMP-13 (collagenase-3) is a metalloproteinase with potent degradative activity against a variety of elements of the extracellular matrix. Its expression has been described in some human carcinomas, where it seems to play a role in tumor progression and metastasis. The objective of this study was to investigate the expression and clinical significance of MMP-13 in gastric carcinomas.
Patients and method: MMP-13 expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry in resected specimens from 44 patients with gastric adenocarcinoma. The mean ( standard error) follow-up period was 21.4 3.2 months.
Results: A total of 14 gastric carcinomas (31.8%) showed positive immunostaining for MMP-13. The percentage of MMP-13-positive tumors was significantly (p = 0.009) higher in stage IV carcinomas (69.2%) than in lower stages (I: 22.2%; II: 12.5%; and III: 14.3%), as well as in nonresectable tumors (R1 and R2) (61.5%) than in resectable carcinomas (R0) (19.4%) (p = 0.017). Likewise, MMP-13 tumor expression was significantly associated with shortened overall survival in both the entire group of patients (p = 0.0006) and in the subgroup of patients with resectable tumors (p = 0.018).
Conclusions: Our results suggest that, in patients harboring gastric adenocarcinoma, MMP-13 tumor expression is associated with higher tumor aggressiveness and a poor prognosis.