Cathepsin-S degraded decorin are elevated in fibrotic lung disorders – development and biological validation of a new serum biomarker
Decorin is a small leucine-rich proteoglycan, synthesized and deposited by fibroblasts in the stroma where it binds to collagen I. It sequesters several growth factors and antagonizes numerous members of the receptor tyrosine kinase family. In experimental murine systems, it acted as a potent tumor suppressor. Examining the Human Protein Atlas online database of immunostained tissue samples we have surveyed decorin expression in silico in several different tumor types, comparing them with corresponding normal tissues. We found that decorin is abundantly secreted and deposited in normal connective tissue but its expression is consistently decreased in the tumor microenvironment. We developed a software to quantitate the difference in expression. The presence of two closely related proteoglycans in the newly formed tumor stroma indicated that the decreased decorin expression was not caused by the delay in proteoglycan deposition in the newly formed connective tissue surrounding the tumor.