NoMatrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-mediated degradation of the extracellular matrix is a major factor for tumor development and expansion. This study analysed MMP-10 protein expression and activity in human lung tumors of various grade, stage, and type to address the relationship between MMP-10 and tumor characteristics and to evaluate MMP-10 as a therapeutic target in non small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). Unlike the majority of MMPs, MMP-10 was located in the tumor mass as opposed to tumor stroma. MMP-10 protein was observed at low levels in normal human lung tissues and at significantly higher levels in all types of NSCLC. No correlation was observed between MMP-10 protein expression and tumor type, stage, or lymph node invasion. To discriminate between active and inactive forms of MMP-10 in samples of human NSCLC, we have developed an ex vivo fluorescent assay. Measurable MMP-10 activity was detected in 42 of 50 specimens of lung cancer and only 2 of 10 specimens of histologically normal lung tissue. No relationship was observed between MMP-10 activity levels and clinicopathologic characteristics. Our results suggest that MMP-10 is expressed and active at high levels in human NSCLC compared to normal lung tissues, and, as such, is a potential target for the development of novel therapeutics for lung cancer treatment
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