A new study has found that the secreted phosphoprotein 1 (SPP1) gene may be a useful prognostic and diagnostic biomarker in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

The study, published in Biomarkers, noted that the prognosis for patients with high expression of SPP1 was significantly poorer than for those with low expression of the gene.

“Although SPP1 has been studied as a potential diagnostic biomarker for IPF patients, the studies involve small sample sizes and inconsistent conclusions,” the authors wrote. “Therefore, we used data from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database for meta-analysis to judge its role in the diagnosis and prognosis evaluation of IPF.”

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To explore the role of SPP1 in IPF, the research team conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of studies in PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science and the Cochrane library as well as sequencing data from the GEO database. The main search keywords were idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and SPP1.

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Eleven data sets from the GEO database were ultimately included to assess the ability of SPP1 to be a diagnostic biomarker in IPF. Three of the data sets contained prognostic information on 308 patients with IPF and were used to evaluate the correlation between SPP1 expression and IPF prognosis.

The results revealed that SPP1 is generally more highly expressed in patients with IPF compared with healthy controls or patients with lung cancer. In addition, the prognosis of patients with IPF and high expression of SPP1 was notably poorer than that of patients with low expression of SPP1.

The authors suggest that SPP1 may be a useful prognostic and diagnostic biomarker in IPF that can distinguish between patients with IPF and health or lung cancer controls. They recommend future prospective studies with larger patient samples to confirm these results.  


Liao Y, Wang R, Wen F. Diagnostic and prognostic value of secreted phosphoprotein 1 for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Biomarkers. Published online November 29, 2022. doi:10.1080/1354750X.2022.2148744