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Matrix metalloproteinases and genetic mouse models in cancer research: a mini-review.Carcinogenesis is a multistep and also a multifactorial process that involves agents like genetic and environmental factors. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are major proteolytic enzymes which are involved in cancer cell migration, invasion, and metastasis. Genetic variations in genes encoding the MMPs were shown in human studies to influence cancer risk and phenotypic features of a tumor. The complex role of MMPs seems to be important in the mechanism of carcinogenesis, but it is not well recognized. Rodent studies concentrated particularly on the better understanding of the biological functions of the MMPs and their impact on the pathological process, also through the modification of Mmp genes. This review presents current knowledge and the existing evidence on the importance of selected MMPs in genetic mouse models of cancer and human genetic association studies. Further, this work can be useful for scientists studying the role of the genetic impact of MMPs in carcinogenesis.