Matrix Metalloproteinases- cancer spreading enzyme

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world, striking people of all ages. The most frequent cancers in men are lung, prostate, and colorectal cancer, in that order, while in women, the cancers with highest incidence are breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer. The highest mortality is associated with lung, stomach, and liver cancer. The treatment applied for a specific cancer depends primarily on the type of cancer and the stage of cancer. For most cancers, surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy are preferred treatment modalities. However, all three options are associated with several short and long-term detrimental side effects for the patient . Chemotherapy and radiotherapy indiscriminately attack, healthy as well as cancer cells, causing extensive damage throughout the body. Currently, researchers are exploring targeted compounds for cancer treatments to reduce wide spread adverse effects.

imagesCancer cells secrete zinc-dependent endopeptidases, the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which remodel tumor’s surrounding micro-environment by cleaving collagen fibers and other extracellular matrix components, thereby facilitating metastasis. More than 90% of the cancer deaths are associated with metastatic cancer . Therefore, finding a safer and effective alternative to inhibit the action of MMP enzymes would potentially avoid side effects and damage to the healthy cells, while treating cancer patients.

The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of zinc containing endopeptidases that degrade various components of the extra cellular matrix. Among the many types of MMPs that have been identified, MMP-2 (gelatinase A) and MMP-9 (gelatinase B) are thought to play a key role in cancer metastasis. These MMPs are able to modify tumor micro-environment by degrading type IV collagen found in the cellular basement membrane. MMP-2 and -9 are essential in facilitating cancer cell invasion, tumor progression, and metastasis, thereby shortening patient survival in all cancer types. A significant association has been reported between tumor aggression and increased levels of MMP-2 and MMP-9. Therefore, MMPs are used as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in many clinical trials and experimental studies. MMP inhibitors (MMPIs) seem to be the logical targets for the therapeutic intervention in cancer, we summarize the results of our in vitro studies evaluating effects of a natural and non-toxic nutrient mixture on inhibition of the cancer biomarkers; MMP-2 and MMP-9 in the treatment and control of metastasis of 42 different cancer cell lines from 13 representative classes of malignancies.

Journal of Oncobiomarkers

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