Modifying the soil to affect the seed: role of stromal-derived matrix metalloproteinases in cancer progression

Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2006 Mar;25(1):35-43. doi: 10.1007/s10555-006-7887-8.


In the 1980's, as the importance of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in cancer progression was discovered, it was recognized that in most tumors these proteases were abundantly and sometimes exclusively expressed not by tumor cells, but by normal host-derived cells like fibroblasts, vascular endothelial cells, myofibroblasts, pericytes or inflammatory cells that contribute to the tumor microenvironment. Later experiments in mice deficient in specific MMPs revealed that host-derived MMPs play a critical role not only in tumor cell invasion, but also in carcinogenesis, angiogenesis, vasculogenesis and metastasis. Tumor cells secrete many factors, cytokines and chemokines that directly or indirectly increase the expression of these MMPs in the tumor microenvironment where they exert extracellular matrix (ECM) degrading and sheddase activities. The knowledge of the complex role that stromal-derived MMPs play in the interaction between tumor cells and stromal cells should allow us to consider specific windows in cancer treatment when MMP inhibition could have a valuable therapeutic effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basigin / metabolism
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Disease Progression
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Stromal Cells / enzymology*
  • Stromal Cells / pathology


  • Basigin
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases