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Lymphat Res Biol. 2012 Sep;10(3):97-106. doi: 10.1089/lrb.2012.0010.

The role of sphingosine-1-phosphate in breast cancer tumor-induced lymphangiogenesis.

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Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and Massey Cancer Center, Richmond, Virginia 23298-0011, USA.


Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a potent sphingolipid metabolite that regulates a number of biological processes critical for cancer. S1P produced inside cancer cells is exported and exerts its extracellular functions by binding to its specific receptors in an autocrine, paracrine, and/or endocrine manner, which is known as inside-out signaling. S1P is also known to exert its intracellular functions especially in the inflammatory process, but its relevance to cancer biology remains to be elucidated. Recently, there have been growing interests in the role of S1P in breast cancer progression, including angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. Our group demonstrated that activation of sphingosine kinase 1, the enzyme that catalyzes the phosphorylation of sphingosine to S1P, is a key step of this process. In this review, we will cover our current knowledge on the role of S1P signaling pathway in breast cancer progression with an emphasis on its role in tumor-induced lymphangiogenesis.

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