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Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat. 2010 Jun;92(1-4):62-6. doi: 10.1016/j.prostaglandins.2010.03.002. Epub 2010 Mar 10.

Altered sphingolipid metabolism in human endometrial cancer.

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Department of Gynecology, Medical University of Białystok, Skłodowskiej-Curie 24A, 15-276 Białystok, Poland.


There is a growing body of evidence indicating that bioactive sphingolipids play a key role in cancer development, progression and metastasis. However, sphingolipid metabolism in malignant tumors is poorly investigated. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine the content of selected intermediates of ceramide metabolism and the activity of key enzymes of ceramide de novo synthesis and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) production in the endometrial cancer. The specimens of cancer tissue and healthy endometrium were obtained from women undergoing surgery because of the cancer (n=23) and because of myomas (n=18), respectively. The content of sphinganine, dihydroceramide, ceramide, sphingosine and S1P was measured using high pressure liquid chromatography. The activity of the enzymes was determined using radioactive substrates. It has been found that the content of each examined sphingolipid was markedly elevated in the cancer tissue compared with the healthy endometrium. Namely, sphinganine, sphingosine and dihydroceramide by 3-4.6-fold, ceramide and S1P by 1.9- and 1.6-fold, respectively. Interestingly, the ratio of S1P to ceramide remained stable. The activity of serine palmitoyltransferase and sphingosine kinase 1 was increased by 2.3- and 2.6-fold, respectively. We conclude that endometrial carcinoma is characterized by profound changes in sphingolipid metabolism that likely contribute to its progression and chemoresistance.

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