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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Sep 11;109(37):14977-82. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1203525109. Epub 2012 Aug 27.

Secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine-like 1 (SPARCL1) is down regulated in aggressive prostate cancers and is prognostic for poor clinical outcome.

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  • 1Department of Urology, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA.


Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among United States men. However, disease aggressiveness is varied, with low-grade disease often being indolent and high-grade cancer accounting for the greatest density of deaths. Outcomes are also disparate among men with high-grade prostate cancer, with upwards of 65% having disease recurrence even after primary treatment. Identification of men at risk for recurrence and elucidation of the molecular processes that drive their disease is paramount, as these men are the most likely to benefit from multimodal therapy. We previously showed that androgen-induced expression profiles in prostate development are reactivated in aggressive prostate cancers. Herein, we report the down-regulation of one such gene, Sparcl1, a secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) family matricellular protein, during invasive phases of prostate development and regeneration. We further demonstrate a parallel process in prostate cancer, with decreased expression of SPARCL1 in high-grade/metastatic prostate cancer. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that SPARCL1 loss increases the migratory and invasive properties of prostate cancer cells through Ras homolog gene family, member C (RHOC), a known mediator of metastatic progression. By using models incorporating clinicopathologic parameters to predict prostate cancer recurrence after treatment, we show that SPARCL1 loss is a significant, independent prognostic marker of disease progression. Thus, SPARCL1 is a potent regulator of cell migration/invasion and its loss is independently associated with prostate cancer recurrence.

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