Human expression patterns: qualitative and quantitative analysis of thrombospondin-1 under physiological and pathological conditions

J Cell Mol Med. 2018 Apr;22(4):2086-2097. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.13565. Epub 2018 Feb 14.


Thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), a matricellular protein and one of the first endogenous anti-angiogenic molecules identified, has long been considered a potent modulator of human diseases. While the therapeutic effect of TSP-1 to suppress cancer was investigated in both research and clinical settings, the mechanisms of how TSP-1 is regulated in cancer remain elusive, and the scientific answers to the question of whether TSP-1 expressions can be utilized as diagnostic or prognostic marker for patients with cancer are largely inconsistent. Moreover, TSP-1 plays crucial functions in angiogenesis, inflammation and tissue remodelling, which are essential biological processes in the progression of many cardiovascular diseases, and therefore, its dysregulated expressions in such conditions may have therapeutic significance. Herein, we critically analysed the literature pertaining to TSP-1 expression in circulating blood and pathological tissues in various types of cancer as well as cardiovascular and inflammation-related diseases in humans. We compare the secretion rates of TSP-1 by different cancer and non-cancer cells and discuss the potential connection between the expression changes of TSP-1 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) observed in patients with cancer. Moreover, the pattern and emerging significance of TSP-1 profiles in cardiovascular disease, such as peripheral arterial disease, diabetes and other related non-cancer disorders, are highlighted. The analysis of published TSP-1 data presented in this review may have implications for the future exploration of novel TSP-1-based treatment strategies for cancer and cardiovascular-related diseases.

Keywords: angiogenesis; cancer; cardiovascular disease; matricellular; peripheral arterial disease; thrombospondin-1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism
  • Thrombospondin 1 / metabolism*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors / metabolism


  • Thrombospondin 1
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors