Background: The involvements of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) in the pathogenesis of various types of lung cancers have been established. The aim of the present study was to determine the concentrations of MMP-9 and uPA in the plasma of nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Methods: Gelatin zymography and ELISA were used to measure MMP-9 and uPA concentrations, respectively, in 90 NSCLC patients and 50 control subjects. Results: Compared with that of control subjects, MMP-9 and uPA levels were significantly higher in the plasma of NSCLC patients (P<0.001 and P<0.01, respectively). Further statistical analysis for clinic pathological parameters revealed that MMP-9 and uPA levels were significantly increased in patients with metastasis (P<0.01 and P<0.05, respectively). Furthermore, the MMP-9 level was significantly different between smokers and nonsmokers (P<0.05) while uPA levels varied between histological types (P<0.05). Conclusions: Plasma MMP-9 and uPA might play an important role in the metastasis of NSCLC by involvement in the processes of invasion and metastasis. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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