The plasminogen activator/plasmin system is one of the main protease systems involved in tumor cell invasion and metastasis. Our previous study has shown that plasmin degrades E-cadherin and promotes cell dissemination by downregulation of E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion in oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells. To examine the effect of downregulation of the plasminogen activator/plasmin system by alpha2-antiplasmin (alpha2-AP) on cell-cell adhesion mediated by E-cadherin in oral SCC cells, the oral SCC cell line SCCKN was stably transfected with alpha2-AP cDNA. Induction of alpha2-AP expression led to the inhibition of the proteolysis of E-cadherin by plasminogen activator/plasmin in SCC cells, resulting in the enhancement of the cell aggregation and the suppression of the cell motility. Moreover, alpha2-AP also reduced the ability of SCC cells to invade type I collagen gel, and suppressed tumorigenicity in vivo. These results suggested that downregulation of the plasminogen activator/ plasmin system by alpha2-AP might be a potent therapeutic approach to prevent the progression of oral SCC.