Nature communications

Tumour-derived SPARC drives vascular permeability and extravasation through endothelial VCAM1 signalling to promote metastasis.

PMID 25925867


Disruption of the endothelial barrier by tumour-derived secreted factors is a critical step in cancer cell extravasation and metastasis. Here, by comparative proteomic analysis of melanoma secretomes, we identify the matricellular protein SPARC as a novel tumour-derived vascular permeability factor. SPARC deficiency abrogates tumour-initiated permeability of lung capillaries and prevents extravasation, whereas SPARC overexpression enhances vascular leakiness, extravasation and lung metastasis. SPARC-induced paracellular permeability is dependent on the endothelial VCAM1 receptor and p38 MAPK signalling. Blocking VCAM1 impedes melanoma-induced endothelial permeability and extravasation. The clinical relevance of our findings is highlighted by high levels of SPARC detected in tumour from human pulmonary melanoma lesions. Our study establishes tumour-produced SPARC and VCAM1 as regulators of cancer extravasation, revealing a novel targetable interaction for prevention of metastasis.