Extracellular matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of zinc-dependent neutral endopeptidases involved in physiological and pathological processes, through the cleavage of extracellular matrix. MMPs are capable of degrading essentially all matrix components, which is crucial for malignant tumor growth, invasion, metastasis and angiogenesis. The vertebrates MMP family includes at least 26 enzymes (23 have been known in humans) with only MMP-1, 2, and 7 experimentally validated as targets for antitumoral drug design. However, inhibition of MMP-1 has been hypothesized to be the cause of the clinically observed musculoskeletal syndrome when broad spectrum inhibitors are used. On the other hand, MMP-9 is a tricky enzyme, since its inhibition might be useful in treating patients with early-stage cancers, but MMP-9 is an anti-target in patients with advanced disease. So, MMP-9 inhibition should also be prevented. Therefore, selective MMP-2 inhibition arises as a pursued profile for MMP binders. Among them, hydroxamates have been extensively studied as small molecule drug candidates characterized by an effective zinc-binding group plus additional side chains responsible for the selectivity. This article pays particular attention to MMP-2 selectivity on hydroxamate-type inhibitors, especially against MMP-9, and their chemical structure, SAR, general synthetic methods, and molecular modelling studies are here reviewed in order to inspire further design of new effective anticancer agents.
Keywords: Hydroxamate, selective matrix metalloproteinase-2 inhibitors, synthesis, molecular modelling, matrix metalloproteinases, endopeptidases, malignant tumor growth, invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis