[en] Enhanced expression and activation of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and MMP-9 have been associated with tumor progression, invasion, and metastasis. The use of synthetic MMP inhibitors to block the proteolytic activity of these enzymes recently emerged as a potential therapeutic tool to treat cancer. In this study, we report that GI129471, a synthetic broad-spectrum MMP inhibitor, efficiently reduced the in vitro invasiveness of HT1080 cells through type IV collagen, a major component of basement membranes. This reduced invasion was paralleled by a complete inhibition of pro-MMP-2 activation; however, GI129471 strongly increased the amount of secreted pro-MMP-9, which could be subsequently activated through a plasminogen-dependent mechanism. Quantitative RT-PCR and northern blot analysis revealed that GI129471 specifically increased the MMP-9 mRNA steady-state level. Moreover, transient transfection of HT1080 cells with beta-galactosidase reporter vectors containing different lengths of the 5'-flanking region of the MMP-9 gene revealed an upregulation of the transcriptional activity of the corresponding promoter. Well-known modulators of MMP-9 expression such as Il-1beta and TNF-alpha were not involved in this upregulation. These findings emphasize the complexity of the regulation of MMP expression and the requirement for a detailed characterization of the potential adverse side effects associated with the use of broad-spectrum MMPIs.