Colorectal cancer is one of the commonest malignant tumors and has a relatively poor prognosis. The outcome depends on the extent of local and particularly metastatic tumor spread. The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of closely related enzymes that degrade the extracellular matrix and are considered to be important in facilitating tumor invasion and spread (1-3). Using immunohistochemistry we have investigated the occurrence in colorectal cancer of MMP-1 (interstitial collagenase). Our monoclonal antibody was prepared against a synthetic peptide corresponding to an amino acid sequence specific for MMP-1 and was selected to react in formalin-fixed wax-embedded sections, thus allowing use in diagnostic histopathology and also enabling access to archival material. We found that the presence of MMP-1 in colorectal cancer is associated with a poor prognosis (P = 0.006) and has prognostic value independent of Dukes stage. One MMP inhibitor that strongly inhibits MMP-1 has already been shown to inhibit growth of human colon cancer xenografts in nude mice (4). Our results suggest that treatment of those individuals whose colon tumors produce MMP-1 with MMP inhibitors is a therapeutic strategy worth pursuing.