Background: Osteopontin (OPN), a secreted phosphoglycoprotein, has been strongly associated with tumor progression and aggressive cancers. MDA-MB-435 cells secrete very high levels of OPN. However metastasis-suppressed MDA-MB-435 cells, which were transfected with breast cancer metastasis suppressor 1 (BRMS1), expressed significantly less OPN. BRMS1 is a member of mSin3-HDAC transcription co-repressor complex and has been shown to suppress the metastasis of breast cancer and melanoma cells in animal models. Hence we hypothesized that BRMS1 regulates OPN expression. Results: The search for a BRMS1-regulated site on the OPN promoter, using luciferase reporter assays of the promoter deletions, identified a novel NF-κB site (OPN/NF-κB). Electrophoretic mobility shift assays and chromatin immunoprecipitations (ChIP) confirmed this site to be an NF-κB-binding site. We also show a role of HDAC3 in suppression of OPN via OPN/NF-κB. Conclusion: Our results show that BRMS1 regulates OPN transcription by abrogating NF-κB activation. Thus, we identify OPN, a tumor-metastasis activator, as a crucial downstream target of BRMS1. Suppression of OPN may be one of the possible underlying mechanisms of BRMS1-dependent suppression of tumor metastasis. © 2007 Samant et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.