Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma of childhood. Improving the management of rhabdomyosarcoma requires a better understanding of growth regulation. Patched haploinsufficient (Ptch+/-) mice spontaneously develop soft tissue sarcomas that resemble human rhabdomyosarcomas. Using microarray profiling and quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, we identified candidate genes differentially expressed in Ptch+/- mouse rhabdomyosarcoma relative to mature muscle. Overexpressed genes include Secreted Phosphoprotein 1 (Spp1, Osteopontin), and Matrix Metalloproteinases-2 and -14 (Mmp2 and Mmp14). Spp1 is an integrin-binding phosphoglycoprotein upregulated in carcinomas, and Mmps regulate tumour invasion. Immunochemical analyses of murine and human rhabdomyosarcoma specimens confirmed increased expression of Spp1, Mmp2, Mmp14, nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) p65 and its phosphorylated active isoform. Neutralising Spp1 antibody decreased Mmp14 RNA in murine rhabdomyosarcoma cultures, indicating a positive regulatory role for extracellular Spp1. Plasma from rhabdomyosarcoma patients display elevated levels of SPP1. These results implicate Spp1, NF-kappaB, and Mmp activation as a putative signalling pathway involved in rhabdomyosarcoma growth.