NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,863 terms related to cancer and medicine.

Browse the dictionary by selecting a letter of the alphabet or by entering a cancer-related word or phrase in the search box.

matrix metalloproteinase
(MAY-trix meh-TA-loh-PROH-tee-nays)
A member of a group of enzymes that can break down proteins, such as collagen, that are normally found in the spaces between cells in tissues (i.e., extracellular matrix proteins). Because these enzymes need zinc or calcium atoms to work properly, they are called metalloproteinases. Matrix metalloproteinases are involved in wound healing, angiogenesis, and tumor cell metastasis.