Serum Matrix Metalloproteinase-2 in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C and Hepatocellular Carcinoma
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Matrix Metalloproteinases (114MP5) are proteolytic enzymes that play a major role in resorption of collagen and other components of the extracellular matrix. MMP-2 have the ability to degrade basement membranes and may then play an important role in extracellular matrix turnover in liver fibrosis and carcinogenesis. The present study aimed to examine the possible involvement of MMP-2 in the development of liver diseases caused by HCV infection. Serum activities of MMP-2 enzyme were studied by enzyme immunoassay (EIA) in sera from patients with HCV and HCC on top of HCV. This study included 46 Egyptian patients presenting with either chronic hepatitis C infection (HCV) or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Eighteen subjects were included as control group. Serum levels of MMP-2 were found to be significantly higher in both patient groups as compared to the control group. However, there was no significant difference between HCV and HCC patient groups. There was a significant positive correlation between serum levels of MMP-2 and severity of the liver disease as shown in its significant relationship with other liver function tests but no correlation was found with alpha fetoprotein (ALP) levels. In conclusion, serum level of MMP-2 is elevated in patients with chronic hepatitis C and HCC than in control subjects with no statistical difference between both groups. Also, serum level of MMP-2 is correlated with the degree of liver cirrhosis, as it is highest in Child C patients. Serum MMP-2 level could be used as a substitute for liver biopsy in assessment of the extent of liver fibrosis but can not be used as a diagnostic marker for HCC in chronic hepatitis patients.