Correlative and functional evidence support a crucial role for metalloproteinase (MMP) activity in tumor progression. Dysregulation of MMP production at local tumor sites is thought to participate in the remodeling of the local stromal tissue necessary for tumor growth. The extent of damages in local tissues is often reflected by the high concentration of MMP released in the bloodstream of cancer patients. The integrity of the thymic architecture plays a crucial role in the development of mature T cells, but it is compromised by extensive remodeling occurring during the development of thymic lymphomas. In the present work, we have used an experimental thymic lymphoma model to investigate the regulation of MMP-9 (gelatinase B) production in animals bearing large thymic lymphomas. We show a 3-fold increase in serum gelatinase B (Gel B) levels in animals bearing thymic lymphoma compared with those found in normal animals and a correlation between these levels and the size of the tumor. Although Gel B was found within the thymic tumor, lymphoma cells did not express it in vivo, indicating that Gel B expression was associated with thymic stromal cells rather than lymphoma cells. This was corroborated by evidence that lymphoma cells have the capacity to stimulate Gel B gene expression in stromal cells. Our results suggest that lymphoma cells can exert a significant control over Gel B expression by local stromal cells, thereby inducing the extensive remodeling necessary for tumor growth.