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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 654765, 11 pages
Review Article

Decorin: A Growth Factor Antagonist for Tumor Growth Inhibition

1School of Medicine, University of Tampere, 33014 Tampere, Finland
2Department of Orthopedics & Traumatology, Tampere University Hospital, 33521 Tampere, Finland

Received 27 July 2015; Accepted 21 October 2015

Academic Editor: Jean Claude Dussaule

Copyright © 2015 Tero A. H. Järvinen and Stuart Prince. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Decorin (DCN) is the best characterized member of the extracellular small leucine-rich proteoglycan family present in connective tissues, typically in association with or “decorating” collagen fibrils. It has substantial interest to clinical medicine owing to its antifibrotic, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects. Studies on DCN knockout mice have established that a lack of DCN is permissive for tumor development and it is regarded as a tumor suppressor gene. A reduced expression or a total disappearance of DCN has been reported to take place in various forms of human cancers during tumor progression. Furthermore, when used as a therapeutic molecule, DCN has been shown to inhibit tumor progression and metastases in experimental cancer models. DCN affects the biology of various types of cancer by targeting a number of crucial signaling molecules involved in cell growth, survival, metastasis, and angiogenesis. The active sites for the neutralization of different growth factors all reside in different parts of the DCN molecule. An emerging concept that multiple proteases, especially those produced by inflammatory cells, are capable of cleaving DCN suggests that native DCN could be inactivated in a number of pathological inflammatory conditions. In this paper, we review the role of DCN in cancer.