Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) is the major MMP produced by B-CLL cells and contributes to their tissue infiltration by degrading extracellular and membrane-anchored substrates. Here we describe a different function for MMP-9 in B-CLL, which involves the hemopexin domain rather than its catalytic function. Binding of soluble or immobilized (pro)MMP-9, a catalytically inactive proMMP-9 mutant, or the MMP-9 hemopexin domain to its docking receptors alpha4beta1 integrin and CD44v, induces an intracellular signaling pathway that prevents B-CLL apoptosis. This pathway is induced in all B-CLL cases, is active in B-CLL lymphoid tissues, and consists of Lyn activation, STAT3 phosphorylation, and Mcl-1 upregulation. Our results establish that MMP/receptor binding induces intracellular survival signals and highlight the role of (pro)MMP-9 in B-CLL pathogenesis.