This is a systematic review on the role of metalloproteases in the pathogenicity of the American tegumentary leishmaniasis (ATL) caused by New World Leishmania species. The review followed the PRISMA method, searching for articles in PubMed, EMBASE, LILACS and ISI Web of Science, by employing the following terms: ‘leishmaniasis’, ‘cutaneous leishmaniasis’, ‘mucocutaneous leishmaniasis’, ‘diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis’, ‘Leishmania’ and ‘metalloproteases’. GP63 of New World Leishmania species is a parasite metalloproteases involved in the degradation and cleavage of many biological molecules as kappa-B nuclear factor, fibronectin, tyrosine phosphatases. GP63 is capable of inhibiting the activity of the complement system and reduces the host's immune functions, allowing the survival of the parasite and its dissemination. High serological/tissue levels of host matrix metalloproteases (MMP)-9 have been associated with tissue damage during the infection, while high transcriptional levels of MMP-2 related with a satisfactory response to treatment. Host MMPs serological and tissue levels have been investigated using Western Blot, zymography, and Real Time polymerase chain reaction. GP63 detection characterizes species and virulence in promastigotes isolated from lesions samples using techniques mentioned previously. The monitoring of host MMPs levels and GP63 in Leishmania isolated from host samples could be used on the laboratory routine to predict the prognostic and treatment efficacy of ATL.