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Secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) is a matricellular glycoprotein overexpressed by several cancers. Because SPARC shows high binding affinity to albumin, we reasoned that pediatric sarcoma xenografts expressing SPARC would show enhanced uptake and accumulation of nanoparticle albumin-bound (nab)-paclitaxel, a potent anticancer drug formulation. We first evaluated the expression of SPARC in patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) of Ewing sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and osteosarcoma, finding variable SPARC gene expression that correlated well with SPARC protein measured by immunoblotting. We revealed that the activity of the fusion gene chimera EWSR1-FLI1, the genetic driver of Ewing sarcoma, leads to lower expression of the gene SPARC in these tumors, likely due to enriched acetylation marks of the histone H3 lysine 27 at regions including the SPARC promoter and potential enhancers. Then, we used SPARC-edited Ewing sarcoma cells (A673 line) to demonstrate that SPARC knocked down (KD) cells accumulated significantly less amount of nab-paclitaxel in vitro than SPARC wild type (WT) cells. In vivo, SPARC KD and SPARC WT subcutaneous xenografts in mice achieved similar maximum intratumoral concentrations of nab-paclitaxel, though drug clearance from SPARC WT tumors was significantly slower. We confirmed such SPARC-mediated long-term intratumoral accumulation of nab-paclitaxel in Ewing sarcoma PDX with high expression of SPARC, which accumulated significantly more nab-paclitaxel than SPARC-low PDX. SPARC-high PDX responded better to nab-paclitaxel than SPARC-low tumors, although these results should be taken cautiously, given that the PDXs were established from different patients that could have specific determinants predisposing response to paclitaxel. In addition, SPARC KD Ewing sarcoma xenografts responded better to soluble docetaxel and paclitaxel than to nab-paclitaxel, while SPARC WT ones showed similar response to soluble and albumin-carried drugs. Overall, our results show that pediatric sarcomas expressing SPARC accumulate nab-paclitaxel for longer periods of time, which could have clinical implications for chemotherapy efficacy. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Guillem Pascual-Pasto, Helena Castillo-Ecija, Nora Unceta, Rosario Aschero, Claudia Resa-Pares, Alberto Gómez-Caballero, Monica Vila-Ubach, Oscar Muñoz-Aznar, Mariona Suñol, Victor Burgueño, Soledad Gomez-Gonzalez, Alejandro Sosnik, Manuel Ibarra, Paula Schaiquevich, Enrique de Álava, Oscar M Tirado, Jaume Mora, Angel M Carcaboso. SPARC-mediated long-term retention of nab-paclitaxel in pediatric sarcomas. Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society. 2022 Feb;342:81-92

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PMID: 34974029

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