Tissue factor pathway inhibitor-2 (TFPI-2) is a potent inhibitor of plasmin, a protease which is involved in tumour progression by activating (MMPs). This therefore makes TFPI-2 a potential inhibitor of invasiveness and the development of metastases. In this study, low levels of TFPI-2 expression were found in 65% of patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC), the most aggressive type of lung cancer. To study the impact of TFPI-2 in tumour progression, TFPI-2 was overexpressed in NCI-H209 SCLC cells which were orthotopically implanted in nude mice. Investigations showed that TFPI-2 inhibited lung tumour growth. Such inhibition could be explained in vitro by a decrease in tumour cell viability, blockade of G1/S phase cell cycle transition and an increase in apoptosis shown in NCI-H209 cells expressing TFPI-2. We also demonstrated that TFPI-2 upregulation in NCI-H209 cells decreased MMP expression, particularly by downregulating MMP-1 and MMP-3. Moreover, TFPI-2 inhibited phosphorylation of the MAPK signalling pathway proteins involved in the induction of MMP transcripts, among which MMP-1 was predominant in SCLC tissues and was inversely expressed with TFPI-2 in 35% of cases. These results suggest that downregulation of TFPI-2 expression could favour the development of SCLC.