SPARC enhances tumor stroma formation and prevents fibroblast activation

A. Chlenski, L. J. Guerrero, Q. Yang, Y. Tian, R. Peddinti, H. R. Salwen, S. L. Cohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Tumor growth is influenced by interactions between malignant cells and the tumor stroma. Although the normal host microenvironment is nonpermissive for neoplastic progression, tumor-reactive stroma, characterized by the presence of activated fibroblasts, promotes neoplastic growth and metastasis. Secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) is a matricellular glycoprotein that is capable of inhibiting the growth of several different types of cancer. Recently, we reported that SPARC also impairs the growth of xenografts comprised of 293 cells. In this study, we show that in addition to enhancing stroma formation, SPARC prevents fibroblast activation in 293 xenografts, suggesting that the anti-cancer effects of SPARC may be due, at least in part, to the formation of tumor stroma that is not supportive of tumor growth. In vitro, 3T3 fibroblasts cocultured with SPARC-transfected 293 cells remain negative for α-smooth muscle actin, whereas wild-type 293 cells induce fibroblast activation. Moreover, activation of 3T3 cells and primary fibroblasts by transforming growth factor β is blocked by SPARC treatment. We also demonstrate that SPARC significantly increases basic fibroblast growth factor-induced fibroblast migration in vitro, indicating that it may recruit host fibroblasts to the tumor stroma. Taken together, our results suggest that in addition to blocking angiogenesis, SPARC may inhibit tumor growth by promoting the assembly of stroma that is non-permissive for tumor progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4513-4522
Number of pages10
Issue number31
StatePublished - Jul 5 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Activated fibroblast
  • Tumor microenvironment
  • Tumor stroma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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