Tumor cell invasion is now viewed as dysregulated physiologic invasion. Investigators have started to define the molecular events that are involved in this process. We find that there are many functional similarities with molecular events involved in physiologic process such as angiogenesis and wound healing. Matrix metalloproteinase activity is a common denominator in these pathologic conditions and in normal responses. Studies using endogenous metalloproteinase inhibitors suggest that targeting matrix metalloproteinase activity may prevent tumor cell dissemination. The development and pre-clinical testing of novel, low molecular weight matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors support this concept and suggest that an exciting new era of cancer therapy is on the horizon.