Detection and localization of mRNAs encoding matrix metalloproteinases and their tissue inhibitor in human breast pathology

Invasion Metastasis. 1993;13(1):31-7.


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a group of enzymes thought to be responsible for both normal connective-tissue-matrix remodelling and the accelerated breakdown associated with tumor development. These MMPs and tissue inhibitor of MMPs (TIMP1) could be expressed by either the cancer or the stromal cells. Expression of mRNAs encoding interstitial collagenase (MMP1), 72-kD type IV collagenase (MMP2) and stromelysin (MMP3), which are probably involved in tumor invasion and metastasis, and of TIMP1 were studied in human mammary pathology by in situ hybridization and Northern blot analysis. Out of 6 benign lesions, 2 expressed MMP2 mRNAs. mRNAs encoding MMP1 and MMP3 were detectable in occasional stromal and tumor cells in 2 out of 17 carcinomas. Thirteen out of 17 cancers expressed MMP2 mRNA throughout the tumor in stromal cells close to noninvasive tumor clusters and well-differentiated invasive cancer cells. TIMP1 mRNA expression was detected in noninvasive and well-differentiated invasive tumor cells. These data suggest that there is a cooperation between tumor and stromal cells, in particular for the production of 72-kD type IV collagenase, involved in the disruption of basement membranes. A lack of TIMP1 expression from invasive cancer cells would also contribute to matrix destruction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Northern
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Collagenases / genetics
  • Female
  • Fibrocystic Breast Disease / enzymology*
  • Fibrocystic Breast Disease / genetics
  • Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9
  • Metalloendopeptidases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Metalloendopeptidases / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases


  • Glycoproteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases
  • Collagenases
  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1