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World J Biol Chem. 2011 Feb 26;2(2):25-34. doi: 10.4331/wjbc.v2.i2.25.

Roles of sphingosine 1-phosphate on tumorigenesis.

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Yuan-Li Huang, Department of Biotechnology, College of Health Science, Asia University, Taichung 41354, Taiwan, China.


Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive sphingolipid with a variety of biological activities. It is generated from the conversion of ceramide to sphingosine by ceramidase and the subsequent conversion of sphingosine to S1P, which is catalyzed by sphingosine kinases. Through increasing its intracellular levels by sphingolipid metabolism and binding to its cell surface receptors, S1P regulates several physiological and pathological processes, including cell proliferation, migration, angiogenesis and autophagy. These processes are responsible for tumor growth, metastasis and invasion and promote tumor survival. Since ceramide and S1P have distinct functions in regulating in cell fate decision, the balance between the ceramide/sphingosine/S1P rheostat becomes a potent therapeutic target for cancer cells. Herein, we summarize our current understanding of S1P signaling on tumorigenesis and its potential as a target for cancer therapy.


Angiogenesis; Autophagy; Ceramide; Sphingosine 1-phosphate; Sphingosine kinase; Tumorigenesis

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