Periostin expression and epithelial-mesenchymal transition in cancer: a review and an update

Virchows Arch. 2011 Nov;459(5):465-75. doi: 10.1007/s00428-011-1151-5. Epub 2011 Oct 14.


Periostin, also called osteoblast-specific factor 2, is a secreted cell adhesion protein, which shares a homology with the insect cell adhesion molecule fasciclin I. It has been shown to be an important regulator of bone and tooth formation and maintenance, and of cardiac development and healing. Recent studies revealed that periostin plays an important role in tumor development and is upregulated in a wide variety of cancers such as colon, pancreatic, ovarian, breast, head and neck, thyroid, and gastric cancer as well as in neuroblastoma. Periostin binding to the integrins activates the Akt/PKB- and FAK-mediated signaling pathways which lead to increased cell survival, angiogenesis, invasion, metastasis, and importantly, epithelial-mesenchymal transition of carcinoma cells. In this review we summarize recent clinicopathological studies that have investigated periostin expression in lung, kidney, prostate, liver cancer, and malignant pleural mesothelioma and discuss the role of periostin isoforms in tumorigenesis and their potential as targets for stroma-targeted anticancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / analysis
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • POSTN protein, human