Epigenetics of SFRP1: The dual roles in human cancers

Rashidah Baharudin, Francis Yew Fu Tieng, Learn Han Lee, Nurul Syakima Ab Mutalib

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (SFRP1) is a gene that belongs to the secreted glycoprotein SFRP family. SFRP1 has been classified as a tumor suppressor gene due to the loss of expression in various human cancers, which is mainly attributed by epigenetic inactivation via DNA methylation or transcriptional silencing by microRNAs. Epigenetic silencing of SFRP1 may cause dysregulation of cell proliferation, migration, and invasion, which lead to cancer cells formation, disease progression, poor prognosis, and treatment resistance. Hence, restoration of SFRP1 expression via demethylating drugs or over-expression experiments opens the possibility for new cancer therapy approach. While the role of SFRP1 as a tumor suppressor gene is well-established, some studies also reported the possible oncogenic properties of SFRP1 in cancers. In this review, we discussed in great detail the dual roles of SFRP1 in cancers—as tumor suppressor and tumor promoter. The epigenetic regulation of SFRP1 expression will also be underscored with additional emphasis on the potentials of SFRP1 in modulating responses toward chemotherapeutic and epigenetic-modifying drugs, which may encourage the development of novel drugs for cancer treatment. We also present findings from clinical trials and patents involving SFRP1 to illustrate its clinical utility, extensiveness of each research area, and progression toward commercialization. Lastly, this review provides directions for future research to advance SFRP1 as a promising cancer biomarker.

Original languageEnglish
Article number445
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer biomarkers
  • DNA Methylation
  • Gene expression
  • MicroRNA
  • SFRP1
  • Wnt signaling pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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