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      Comparative study of matrix metalloproteinase expression between African American and Caucasian Women

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          To date there are 26 human matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) which are classified according to their substrate specificity and structural similarities. The four major subgroups of MMPs are gelatinases, interstitial collagenases, stromelysins, and membrane-type matrix metalloproteinases (MT-MMPs). This study investigates the expression of 26 MMPs, which have been shown to play a role in cancer metastasis. Breast tissues and cell lines derived from African American patients and Caucasian patients were assayed to demonstrate alterations in the transcription of genes primarily responsible for degrading the extracellular matrix (ECM). The expression levels of the extracellular matrix and adhesion molecules were analyzed using the gene array technology. Steady state levels of mRNAs were validated by RT-PCR analysis. Total RNA was isolated from tissue and cell lines and used in the RT-PCR assays. From this data, differential expression of MMPs between 6 breast cancer cell lines and 2 non-cancer breast cell lines was demonstrated. We have performed an in vitro comparison of MMP expression and established differences in 12 MMPs (3, 7, 8, 9, 11–15, 23B, 26, and 28) expression between African American and Caucasian breast cell lines. Thus, evidence indicates that altered expression of MMPs may play a role in the aggressive phenotype seen in African American women.

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          Metalloproteinases: role in breast carcinogenesis, invasion and metastasis

          The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of zinc-dependent endopeptidases. Their primary function is degradation of proteins in the extracellular matrix. Currently, at least 19 members of this family are known to exist. Based on substrate specificity and domain organization, the MMPs can be loosely divided into four main groups: the interstitial collagenases, gelatinases, stromelysins and membrane-type MMPs. Recent data from model systems suggest that MMPs are involved in breast cancer initiation, invasion and metastasis. Consistent with their role in breast cancer progression, high levels of at least two MMPs (MMP-2 and stromelysin-3) have been found to correlate with poor prognosis in patients with breast cancer. Because MMPs are apparently involved in breast cancer initiation and dissemination, inhibition of these proteinases may be of value both in preventing breast cancer and in blocking metastasis of established tumours
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            Differences in breast cancer stage, treatment, and survival by race and ethnicity.

            In the United States, black and Hispanic white women with breast cancer present with more advanced stages and have poorer survival rates than non-Hispanic whites, whereas Asians and Pacific Islanders do not. However, Asians and Pacific Islanders and Hispanic whites are heterogeneous populations, and few studies have evaluated breast cancer stage, treatments, and mortality rates for subgroups of these populations. Using data from 11 population-based tumor registries that participate in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, we conducted a retrospective cohort study to evaluate the relationship between race and ethnicity and breast cancer stage, treatments, and mortality rates. The cohort of 124,934 women diagnosed as having a first primary invasive breast carcinoma between January 1, 1992, and December 31, 1998, included 97,999 non-Hispanic whites, 10,560 blacks, 322 American Indians, 8834 Asians and Pacific Islanders, and 7219 Hispanic whites. Relative to non-Hispanic whites, blacks, American Indians, Hawaiians, Indians and Pakistanis, Mexicans, South and Central Americans, and Puerto Ricans had 1.4- to 3.6-fold greater risks of presenting with stage IV breast cancer. Blacks, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans were 20% to 50% more likely to receive or elect a first course of surgical and radiation treatment not meeting the 2000 National Comprehensive Cancer Network standards. In addition, blacks, American Indians, Hawaiians, Vietnamese, Mexicans, South and Central Americans, and Puerto Ricans had 20% to 200% greater risks of mortality after a breast cancer diagnosis. Differences in breast cancer stage, treatments, and mortality rates are present by race and ethnicity. Breast cancer survival may be improved by targeting factors, particularly socioeconomic factors, that underlie these differences.
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              General mechanisms of metastasis.

              In the present article, the steps involved in the process of tumor metastasis are discussed. Several events are required for malignant cells to leave the primary tumor and proliferate at a distant site: vessel formation (angiogenesis), cell attachment, invasion (matrix degradation, cell motility), and cell proliferation. Molecular mechanisms underlying each of these steps are described. Based on blocking these processes, new anti-metastasis therapies are being developed.

                Author and article information

                J Carcinog
                Journal of Carcinogenesis
                BioMed Central (London )
                29 October 2004
                : 3
                : 15
                [1 ]Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine Howard University, Washington, D.C. 20059, USA
                [2 ]Department of Biology Howard University, Washington, D.C. 20059, USA
                [3 ]Division of Pathology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, D.C. 20021, USA
                Copyright © 2004 Mason et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Short Paper

                Oncology & Radiotherapy


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