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Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) are a conserved family of proteins that were originally identified as cytokine-like erythroid growth factors. Subsequently, TIMPs were characterized as endogenous inhibitors of matrixin proteinases. These proteinases are the primary mediators of extracellular matrix turnover in pathologic conditions, such as cancer invasion and metastasis. Thus, TIMPs were immediately recognized as important regulators of tissue homeostasis. However, TIMPs also demonstrate unique biological activities that are independent of metalloproteinase regulation. Although often overlooked, these non-protease-mediated TIMP functions demonstrate a variety of direct cellular effects of potential therapeutic value. TIMP2 is the most abundantly expressed TIMP family member, and ongoing studies show that its tumor suppressor activity extends beyond protease inhibition to include direct modulation of tumor, endothelial, and fibroblast cellular responses in the tumor microenvironment. Recent data suggest that TIMP2 can suppress both primary tumor growth and metastatic niche formation. TIMP2 directly interacts with cellular receptors and matrisome elements to modulate cell signaling pathways that result in reduced proliferation and migration of neoplastic, endothelial, and fibroblast cell populations. These effects result in enhanced cell adhesion and focal contact formation while reducing tumor and endothelial proliferation, migration, and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitions. These findings are consistent with TIMP2 homeostatic functions beyond simple inhibition of metalloprotease activity. This review examines the ongoing evolution of TIMP2 function, future perspectives in TIMP research, and the therapeutic potential of TIMP2. Published by Elsevier Inc.


William G Stetler-Stevenson. The Continuing Saga of Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase 2: Emerging Roles in Tissue Homeostasis and Cancer Progression. The American journal of pathology. 2023 Oct;193(10):1336-1352

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PMID: 37572947

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