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Mol Endocrinol. 2011 Nov;25(11):1858-66. doi: 10.1210/me.2011-1048. Epub 2011 Sep 22.

Sphingosine kinase 1 is overexpressed and promotes proliferation in human thyroid cancer.

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Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes Center, The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.


Sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1), an oncogenic kinase, has been previously found to be elevated in various types of human cancer and play a role in tumor development and progression. Nevertheless, the biological and clinical significance of SphK1 in thyroid cancer is largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that the expression of SphK1 is generally up-regulated in thyroid cancer and that its expression level is correlated with the degree of thyroid malignancy. Silencing SphK1 by specific RNA interference is able to suppress the proliferation of thyroid cancer cells, and SphK1 expression level is strongly associated with the expression of proliferation cell nuclear antigen in thyroid cancer tissues. Of particular note is that depletion of SphK1 results in dephosphorylation of protein kinase B and glycogen synthase kinase-3β and subsequent inactivation of β-catenin-T-cell factor/lymphoid enhancing factor transcriptional activity. Hence, taken together, our study has identified SphK1 as a proproliferative oncogenic kinase, an Akt/glycogen synthase kinase-3β/β-catenin activator, and probably a biomarker for thyroid cancer as well.

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