Background: Matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) are proteolytic enzymes that are essentially involved in turnover of the extracellular matrix (ECM). The aim was to investigate the diagnostic value of MMP-7 and MMP-10 as tumor markers in pleural effusion (PE) and evaluate the value of combining MMP-7, MMP-10 and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) assays as diagnostic aids for malignant cells. Materials and
Methods: A total of 179 patients with PE (87 malignant and 92 benign) were included in this study. The levels of MMP-7 and MMP-10 were measured using ELISA.
Results: Values for MMP-7 and MMP-10 were significantly higher in malignant PE than those in benign PE (P<0.01). Among all variables evaluated, logistic regression found that MMP-7 and MMP-10 were significantly correlated with the presence of malignant disease (P<0.01). Analysis of receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves showed that the area under the curve of MMP-10 (0.806) was significantly larger than that of MMP-7 (0.771) and CEA (0.789) (P<0.01). With parallel interpretation, the combination of MMP-10 and CEA achieved the higher sensitivity of 94.6%. The combination of MMP-7 and CEA in serial interpretation was able to boost the specificity to 95.7%. The combination of MMP-7, MMP-10 and CEA produced better sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV than MMP-7 and MMP-10 alone.
Conclusion: MMP-7 and MMP-10 in PE may represent helpful adjuncts to conventional diagnostic tools in ruling out malignancy as a probable diagnosis, thus guiding the selection of patients who might benefit from further invasive procedures.