Elevated Pre-Treatment Serum MMP-7 Levels Are Associated with the Presence of Metastasis and Poor Survival in Upper Tract Urothelial Carcinoma
Upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) is a rare cancer with a barely predictable clinical behaviour. Serum MMP-7 is a validated prognostic marker in urothelial bladder cancer, a tumour entity with large clinical, histological, and molecular similarity to UTUC. The serum MMP-7 levels have not yet been investigated in UTUC. In the present study, we determined MMP-7 concentrations in an overall number of 103 serum samples from 57 UTUC patients who underwent surgical or systemic (platinum or immune checkpoint inhibitor) therapy by using the ELISA method. In addition to pre-treatment samples, the serum samples collected at predefined time points after or during therapy were also investigated. Serum MMP-7 concentrations were correlated with clinicopathological and follow-up data. Our results revealed significantly, two-fold elevated pre-treatment serum MMP-7 levels in metastatic cases of UTUC in both the radical surgery- and the chemotherapy-treated cohorts (p = 0.045 and p = 0.040, respectively). In addition, high serum MMP-7 levels significantly decreased after radical surgery, and high pre-treatment MMP-7 concentrations were associated with shorter survival both in the surgery- and chemotherapy-treated cohorts (p = 0.029 and p = 0.001, respectively). Our results revealed pre-treatment serum MMP-7 as a prognostic marker for UTUC, which may help to improve preoperative risk-stratification and thereby improve therapeutic decision-making.