Role of osteopontin in tumour progression

Br J Cancer. 2004 May 17;90(10):1877-81. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6601839.


Since its first identification as a transformation-associated protein, osteopontin (OPN) has been recognised as important in the processes of tumorigenicity and metastasis. Here, we review the evidence that OPN might be considered as a candidate prognostic marker in human cancer. In animal systems, evidence from cell injection experiments and genetically manipulated mice suggest an important but complex role for the protein in tumour progression. Moreover, studies in a variety of human cancers associate high levels of OPN expression in tumours or in blood with more advanced cancers. The mechanism of action of OPN in promoting cancer is still unclear, and we consider aspects of OPN biology that can complicate interpretation of human studies. Nevertheless, growing evidence supports a role for OPN as a potential prognostic factor for various human cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Glycoproteins / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prognosis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Glycoproteins
  • osteopoietin