Matrix Metalloproteinases in Head and Neck Cancer
Pol Specenier and Anja Brouwer
World Journal of Surgical Medical and Radiation Oncology 2015, 4:4
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are zinc-dependent endopeptidases, which degrade all kinds of extracellular matrix proteins. MMPs play an important role in cell behaviors such as proliferation, migration, differentiation, apoptosis, and host defense. Polymorphisms in the promoter regions of multiple MMPs and overexpression of MMPs and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) are associated with head and neck cancer risk, higher T and N stage, and a worse prognosis. Serum and plasma levels of MMP and TIMP might be useful in diagnostics and follow-up. However, their use as therapeutic target should be further investigated, since the antitumor activity of matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors has been disappointing thus far.