The synthetic matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor batimastat was tested for its ability to inhibit growth and metastatic spread of the B16-BL6 murine melanoma in syngeneic C57BL/6N mice. Intraperitoneal administration of batimastat resulted in a significant inhibition in the number of lung colonies produced by B16-BL6 cells injected i.v. The effect of batimastat on spontaneous metastases was examined in mice inoculated in the hind footpad with B16-BL6 melanoma. The primary tumor was removed surgically after 26-28 days. Batimastat was administered twice a day from day 14 to day 28 (pre-surgery) or from day 26 to day 44 (post-surgery). With both protocols, the median number of lung metastases was not significantly affected, but there was a significant reduction in the weight of the metastases. Finally, the effect of batimastat was examined on s.c. growth of B16-BL6 melanoma. Batimastat administered daily, starting at day of tumor transplantation, resulted in a significant growth delay, whereas treatment starting at advanced stage tumor only reduced tumor growth marginally. Our results indicate that a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor can not only prevent the colonization of secondary organs by B16-BL6 cells but also limit the growth of solid tumors.