Purpose: Secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteines-like 1 (SPARCL1) is an extracellular matrix glycoprotein with malignancy-suppressing potential. The hypothesis that SPARCL1 reduces cancer invasiveness and predicts better survival in colorectal cancers (CRC) was investigated. Experimental Design: Stable SPARCL1 transfectants, RKO-SPARCL1, and corresponding vector control were constructed and implanted into nude mice to generate a mouse xenograft model of liver metastasis. Also, a retrospective outcome study was conducted on the COH set (222 CRCs) and ZJU set (412 CRCs). The protein expression level of SPARCL1 was determined by immunohistochemistry. The Kaplan-Meier and Cox analyses were used for survival analysis. The association of SPARCL1 with mesenchymal- epithelial transition (MET) was examined by reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) and Western blot analysis. Results: The ectopic expression of SPARCL1 significantly reduced the potential for anchorage-independent growth, migration, invasion and induced cell differentiation in RKO and SW620 cells. In mouse xenograft model, the expression of SPARCL1 significantly reduced the liver metastasis (P < 0.01). The patient-based studies revealed that the expression of SPARCL1 was related to better differentiation (P < 0.01), less lymph node involvement [OR, 0.67; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.45-1.00], and less distant metastasis (OR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.18-0.79). The Kaplan-Meier and Cox analysis showed that the expression of SPARCL1 was associated with better overall survival (log-rank: P < 0.01; HR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.39-0.84). Transfection of SPARCL1 induced MET of colon cancer cells. Conclusion: SPARCL1 functions as a tumor suppressor promoting differentiation possibly via MET, which inhibits the aggressiveness of CRCs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas