Development of metastases requires cancer cells to breach underlying basement membrane, migrate through interstitial stroma and gain access to blood or lymphatic vessels. Membrane type 1-matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) has been linked with these processes. Expression of MT1-MMP in human prostate cancer correlates with the stage of this disseminated disease. The mechanism underlying this observation, however, still remains to be understood. To study the role of MT1-MMP in prostate cancer dissemination, endogenous and recombinant MT1-MMP expressed in human prostate cancer cell lines (DU-145 and LNCaP) were examined. Using FITC-labeled Matrigel, a soluble basement membrane extract coated coverslips, LNCaP cells stably expressing a chimera of MT1-MMP and Green Fluorescent Protein (MT1-GFP) degraded Matrigel and readily migrated over degraded substrates. The degradation of Matrigel by LNCaP cells expressing MT1-GFP was sensitive to MMP inhibitors, CT-1746 and TIMP-2, but not TIMP-1. Cell migration was dramatically enhanced by expression of MT1-MMP. By employing surgical orthotopic implantation of LNCaP cells stably expressing MT1-GFP into the prostate gland of immunodeficient mice, we demonstrated that MT1-MMP promotes lymph node and lung metastasis of prostate cancer cells. Together, these results emphasize the pivotal role of MT1-MMP in prostate cancer dissemination and confirm that MT1-MMP is a suitable target to prevent cancer metastasis.