This brief review focuses on the emerging role of matrix metalloproteinase 11 (MMP-11) in cancer progression. It has recently been shown that MMP-11 is induced in adipose tissue by cancer cells as they invade their surrounding environment. MMP-11 negatively regulates adipogenesis by reducing pre-adipocyte differentiation and reversing mature adipocyte differentiation. Adipocyte dedifferentiation in turn leads to the accumulation of non-malignant peritumoral fibroblast-like cells, which favor cancer cell survival and tumor progression. This MMP-11-mediated bi-directional cross-talk between invading cancer cells and adjacent adipocytes/pre-adipocytes highlights the central role that MMP-11 plays during tumor desmoplasia and represents a molecular link between obesity and cancer.
©2008 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York