MMP-9 is predominantly expressed in epithelioid and not spindle cell uveal melanoma

Anna Sapino, Massimo Bongiovanni, Paola Cassoni, Luisella Righi, Riccardo Arisio, Silvia Deaglio, Fabio Malavasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extracellular matrix-degrading enzymes are crucial for cancer metastases. One group of enzymes that has been increasingly implicated in the breakdown of the extracellular matrix, and hence the intravasation and dissemination of tumour cells, is the family of metalloproteinases. In the recent past, increasing efforts have led to the development of more or less specific matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitors. Data concerning the molecular nature and timing of the contribution of MMPs to tumour spread is of paramount importance in clarifying which MMP is an appropriate target for more selective MMP inhibition in future tumour therapy. This study immunohistochemically characterized the expression patterns of MMP-2, -3, and -9 in 26 uveal melanomas. Forty-six per cent of the uveal melanomas expressed MMP-2 and/or MMP-9. MMP-3 expression was seen in 17 out of 26 uveal melanomas. MMP-9, previously shown to play an important part in tumour dissemination, was predominantly present in epithelioid melanomas (71.4%) or the epithelioid portion of mixed cell uveal melanomas (67%), whereas only one out of ten spindle cell melanomas showed MMP-9 expression (10%). MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression was associated with a significantly higher incidence of metastatic disease. The survival rate of patients with MMP-2-positive melanomas was 31% vs. 85% for patients with MMP-2-negative (p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-206
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Epithelioid cell melanoma
  • Metastasis
  • MMP-2
  • MMP-3
  • MMP-9
  • TIMP-1
  • TIMP-2
  • Uveal melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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