Background/Aims: Matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) is involved in the processes of tumor invasion and metastasis. However, studies on MMP-2 and tissue inhibitor of MMP-2 (TIMP-2) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are rare, and there are no studies on the correlations with these expressions and HCC patient’s suvival. Methods : We immunohistochemically examined the expression of these proteins and the relationships between these expressions and histological grade, clinicopathological parameters and patient’s survival in 106 patients with HCC. We also examined gelatin zymography and western blotting, using 12 fresh samples of HCC. Results : MMP-2 and TIMP-2 immunoreactivities were presented in HCC cells as well as in non-HCC cells. MMP-2 expression significantly correlated with TIMP-2 expression, and these expressions were stronger in non-tumorous lesions than in tumor lesions. These immunohistochemical results were nearly consistent with the results of western blotting. MMP-2 expression significantly correlated with HCC grade. Though there were no relations between the MMP-2 or TIMP-2 expression and several clinicopathological parameters, overexpressions of MMP-2 and TIMP-2 were associated with poor prognosis of HCC’s patients. Moreovre, TIMP-2 expression was identified as the best predictive factor for determining the prognosis in patients with HCC. Conclusion : MMP-2 and TIMP-2 are involved in HCC progression, and their overexpression is associated with poor prognosis.

[Proc Amer Assoc Cancer Res, Volume 47, 2006]