Tissue Inhibitor of Matrix Metalloproteinase-2 in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

Amr Ahmed El Badry, MD; Amal Abou El-Fadle, MD; Abdel Latif El-Balshy, MD

In This Article


By regulating matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity and controlling the breakdown of extracellular matrix components, tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) play an important role in the process of tumor invasion and metastasis. The present study was designed to clarify the role of TIMP-2 in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients and to evaluate its importance relative to clinicopathologic parameters. It was carried out in 30 patients with NPC and 20 controls. Tissue biopsies were studied and graded pathologically, and Western blot analysis was performed to assess TIMP-2 protein expression. Clinically, in accordance with TNM classification (T: tumor size, N: lymph node involvement, M: distant metastasis), 8 cases were diagnosed as stage II, 12 as stage III, and 10 cases as stage IV; however, pathologic typing with use of the World Health Organization (WHO) classification revealed the presence of 9 specimens of squamous cell carcinoma (WHO type 1), 6 cases of nonkeratinizing carcinoma (WHO type 2), and 15 cases of undifferentiated carcinoma (WHO type 3). The difference in percentage of TIMP-2 positivity between NPC patients (76.6%) and normal controls (30%) was statistically highly significant (P < .01). In addition, there was a significant positive correlation between TIMP-2 protein positivity and either the clinical staging or the histopathologic typing (P < .01) using Chi-square test (x2), suggesting that TIMP-2 can be used as a marker of the severity of NPC.

Accordingly, we can assume that TIMP-2 may play a role in regional lymph node and/or distant metastasis and in progression of squamous cell carcinoma. Further studies are needed to investigate the role of TIMP-2 as a marker for tumor progression and to evaluate its potential value in the follow-up of patients.

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