Acquisition of invasive/metastatic potential is a key event in tumor progression. Cell surface glycoproteins and their respective matrix ligands have been implicated in this process. Recent evidence reveals that the secreted glycoprotein SPARC (secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine) is highly expressed in different malignant tissues. The present study reports that the suppression of SPARC expression by human melanoma cells using a SPARC antisense expression vector results in a significant decrease in the in vitro adhesive and invasive capacities of tumor cells, completely abolishing their in vivo tumorigenicity. This is the first evidence that SPARC plays a key role in human melanoma invasive-metastatic phenotype development.