In this study, we investigated whether the expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 correlated with invasiveness, proliferative potential, or prognosis in astrocytic tumors. Thirty-seven astrocytic tumors (8 diffuse astrocytomas, 15 anaplastic astrocytomas, and 14 glioblastomas) and three gliomatosis cerebri were investigated immunohistochemically. The invasive glioma group included three cases of gliomatosis cerebri and two of glioblastoma associated with cerebrospinal fluid dissemination. The expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 was evaluated by assigning an immunohistochemical (IHC) score defined as the sum of expression frequency and intensity. mRNA expression patterns for the MMPs were also evaluated in a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assay. Neither the MMP-2 nor MMP-9 IHC score was related to histological malignancy. The MMP-2 IHC score of the invasive glioma group was significantly higher than those of other kinds of astrocytic tumors. However, the MMP-9 IHC score did not correlate with dissemination among astrocytic tumors. An inverse correlation was observed between the MIB-1 labeling index and the IHC scores of MMP-2, but it was not significant. A Kaplan-Meyer survival analysis revealed no significant relationship between the survival rate and MMP-2 or MMP-9 expression. Our study showed that MMP-2 expression, but not MMP-9 expression, may be associated with invasion in astrocytic tumors.