SPARC is down-regulated by DNA methylation and functions as a tumor suppressor in T-cell lymphoma

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The aim of this study was to assess the functional role of SPARC in T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (T-NHL), as well as the underlying molecular mechanisms. Here, we first identified SPARC expression in T-NHL tissues and cell lines through western blot and real-time PCR (RT-PCR). Overall survival of T-NHL patients with different levels of SPARC was assessed by Kaplan-Meier survival curves. Then cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration and invasion of T-NHL cells with either knockdown or overexpression of SPARC were determined by MTT, flow cytometry, transwell migration and invasion assay, respectively. Finally, the molecular mechanism by which SPARC modulated T-NHL cell progression was assessed. We confirmed that SPARC was significantly down-regulated in T-NHL tissues and cell lines. T-NHL patients with high levels of SPARC demonstrated a favorable clinical outcome. SPARC significantly suppressed cell proliferation, migration and invasion, and EMT process, but facilitated cell apoptosis in T-NHL cells. Further, we found that loss of SPARC expression in T-NHL tissues and cell lines, both in mRNA and protein levels, was associated with the aberrant DNA methylation in SPRAC gene, and the disrupted SPARC expression could be rescued after treatment with the demethylating agent 5-Aza-2′-deoxycitydine (5-Aza-Cdr). Additionally, 5-Aza-Cdr reversed SPARC hypermethylation to restore its biological role as a tumor suppressor in T-NHL cells, including inhibiting cell proliferation, invasion and migration, while promoting cell apoptosis. Our data provided evidence that DNA methylation in SPARC gene may play a role in the progression of T-NHL.

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