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Cancer Microenviron. 2011 Dec;4(3):393-403. doi: 10.1007/s12307-011-0088-1. Epub 2011 Sep 9.

Effects of lysophospholipids on tumor microenvironment.

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Department of Physiology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, POB 1103 Blindern, 0317, Oslo, Norway,


The effects of lysophospholipids (LPLs) on cancer microenvironment is a vast and growing field. These lipids are secreted physiologically by various cell types. They play highly important roles in the development, activation and regulation of the immune system. They are also secreted by cancerous cells and there is a strong association between LPLs and cancer. It is clear that these lipids and in particular sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) and lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) play major roles in regulating the growth of tumor cells, and in manipulating the immune system. These activities can be divided into two parts; the first involves the ability of S1P and LPA to either directly or through some of the enzymes that generate them such as sphingosine kinases or phospholipases, induce the motility and invasiveness of tumor cells. The second mechanism involves the recently discovered effects of these lipids on the anti-tumor effector natural killer (NK) cells. Whereas S1P and LPA induce the recruitment of these effector cells, they also inhibit their cytolysis of tumor cells. This may support the environment of cancer and the ability of cancer cells to grow, spread and metastasize. Consequently, LPLs or their receptors may be attractive targets for developing drugs in the treatment of cancer where LPLs or their receptors are up-regulated.

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