The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) constitute a multigene family of over 23 secreted and cell-surface associated enzymes that cleave or degrade various pericellular substrates. In addition to virtually all extracellular matrix (ECM) compounds, their targets include other proteinases, chemotactic molecules, latent growth factors, growth factor-binding proteins and cell surface molecules. The MMP activity is controlled by the physiological tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs). There is much evidence that MMPs and their inhibitors play a key role during extracellular remodeling in physiological situations and in cancer progression. They have other functions that promoting tumor invasion. Indeed, they regulate early stages of tumor progression such as tumor growth and angiogenesis. Membrane type MMPs (MT-MMPs) constitute a new subset of cell surface-associated MMPs. The present review will focus on MT1-MMP which plays a major role at least, in the ECM remodeling, directly by degrading several of its components, and indirectly by activating pro-MMP2. As our knowledge on the field of MT1-MMP biology has grown, the unforeseen complexities of this enzyme and its interaction with its inhibitor TIMP-2 have emerged, often revealing unexpected mechanisms of action.