The role of thrombospondin-1 in tumor progression and angiogenesis

Bioessays. 1996 Jan;18(1):71-6. doi: 10.1002/bies.950180113.


Thrombospondin (TSP-1) is a large glycoprotein secreted by platelets and synthesized by many cell types, including endothelial and tumor cells. Although controversy exists about the biological function of TSP-1, the following observations suggest that TSP-1 may potentiate tumor progression. (1) Tumor metastases in mice are promoted by TSP-1 and inhibited by anti-TSP-1 antibodies. (2) TSP-1 promotes tumor cell adhesion, migration and invasion. (3) TSP-1 promotes angiogenesis in the rat aorta model. (4) TSP-1 up-regulates the plasminogen activator system through a mechanism involving the activation of TGF-beta 1. (5) Human tumors express increased levels of the CSVTCG-specific TSP-1 receptor. (6) Tumor stroma is enriched in TSP-1. (7) Cancer patients have high blood levels of TSP-1. (8) Poor patient survival correlates with a higher expression of the CSVTCG-specific TSP-1 receptor on tumor cells. In this paper we discuss the evidence that TSP-1 promotes tumor progression and present a hypothetical scheme for its mechanism of action.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Aorta / cytology
  • Aorta / drug effects
  • CD36 Antigens / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cornea / blood supply
  • Cornea / drug effects
  • Disease Progression
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / pharmacology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Proteins / physiology*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / physiopathology*
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / physiology*
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Thrombospondins


  • CD36 Antigens
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Thrombospondins