Expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 related to lymph node metastasis of oral squamous cell carcinoma. A clinicopathologic study

Am J Clin Pathol. 1993 Jan;99(1):18-23. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/99.1.18.


To investigate the effect of matrix-degrading enzymes on the malignant potential of oral squamous cell carcinoma, the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2/72-kD gelatinase/type IV collagenase) in 46 patients who had neck surgery for oral cancer was studied immunohistochemically. In 20 of 26 patients (76.9%) with lymph node metastases, proMMP-2 was strongly expressed, whereas the production of proMMP-2 in tissue was detected only in 5 of 20 patients (25%) who had no lymph node metastases. In tissue specimens, proMMP-2 was expressed in a diffuse invasive mode and in the advancing front of cancer. Because MMP-2 can degrade type IV collagen composed of basement membrane, these results suggest that the in vivo production of the enzyme by cancer is an indicator of the degree of malignancy, and that the analysis of proMMP-2 expression is useful to evaluate the malignant potential in individual oral squamous cell carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / enzymology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / secondary*
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / secondary
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymph Nodes / enzymology*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • Metalloendopeptidases / analysis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2