Tissue and serum loss of metalloproteinase inhibitors in high grade soft tissue sarcomas

Maria Serena Benassi, G. Magagnoli, F. Ponticelli, L. Pazzaglia, L. Zanella, G. Gamberi, P. Ragazzini, C. Ferrari, M. Mercuri, P. Picci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in degrading extracellular matrix is controlled by activation of pro-enzymes and inhibition of MMP tissue inhibitors (TIMPs). To assess proteolytic cascade imbalance in malignancy progression, the enzymatic activity of MMP2 and MMP9 and the expression and serum level of their inhibitors, TIMP2 and TIMP1 respectively, was evaluated in selected patients with high-risk soft tissue sarcoma (STS). Gelatinase activity and inhibitor expression was evaluated on 69 biopsies by zymography and immunohistochemistry. TIMP1 and TIMP2 serum concentration was tested in 53 STS patients and in 56 controls using a sandwich enzyme immunoassay. Clinical and biological variables were related to clinical outcome of the patients. A significant gelatinolytic activity was seen in a high percentage of STS. TIMP expression was weak or negative in the majority of samples. The difference between disease-free (p=0.001) and overall survival (p=0.007) curves based on TIMP2 immunoreactivity was statistically significant. TIMP plasma concentration of 53 STS revealed significantly lower levels compared to those of 56 controls (p=0.0001). In conclusion, low levels of negative regulators of proteolysis may be related to tumor biological aggressiveness and used to select patients with poor prognosis to improve cure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1040
Number of pages6
JournalHistology and Histopathology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2003


  • Inhibitors
  • Metalloproteinases
  • Prognosis
  • Soft tissue sarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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