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Implication of Ceramide, Ceramide 1-Phosphate and Sphingosine 1-Phosphate in Tumorigenesis

Author(s): Patricia Gangoiti | Maria H. Granado | Alicia Alonso | Félix M. Goñi | Antonio Gómez-Muñoz

Journal: Translational Oncogenomics
ISSN 1177-2727

Volume: 3;
Start page: 81;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: apoptosis | cell growth | ceramide | ceramide 1-phosphate | sphingosine 1-phosphate | sphingolipids

In the last two decades there has been considerable progress in our understanding of the role of sphingolipids in controlling signal transduction processes, particularly in the mechanisms leading to regulation of cell growth and death. Ceramide is a well-characterized sphingolipid metabolite and second messenger that can be produced by cancer cells in response to a variety of stimuli, including therapeutic drugs, leading to cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Although this is a promising aspect when thinking of treating cancer, it should be borne in mind that ceramide production may not always be a growth inhibitory or pro-apoptotic signal. In fact, ceramide can be readily converted to sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) by the concerted actions of ceramidases and sphingosine kinases, or to ceramide 1-phosphate (C1P) by the action of ceramide kinase. In general, S1P and C1P have opposing effects to ceramide, acting as pro-survival or mitogenic signals in most cell types. This review will address our current understanding of the many roles of ceramide, S1P and C1P in the regulation of cell growth and survival with special emphasis to the emerging role of these molecules and their metabolizing enzymes in controlling tumor progression and metastasis.
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