Sphingolipid metabolism is known to play a role in cell death, survival, and therapy resistance in cancer. Sphingolipids, particularly dihydroceramide and ceramide, are associated with antiproliferative or cell death responses, respectively, and are central to effective cancer therapy. Within the last decade, strides have been made in elucidating many intricacies of sphingolipid metabolism. New information has emerged on the mechanisms by which sphingolipid metabolism is dysregulated during malignancy and how cancer cells survive and/or escape therapeutic interventions. This chapter focuses on three main themes: (1) sphingolipid enzymes that are dysregulated in cancer, particularly in prostate cancer; (2) inhibitors of sphingolipid metabolism that antagonize prosurvival responses; and (3) sphingolipid-driven escape mechanisms that allow cancer cells to evade therapies. We explore clinical and preclinical approaches to interdict sphingolipid metabolism and provide a rationale for combining strategies to drive the generation of antiproliferative ceramides with prevention of ceramide clearance.
Advances in cancer research. 2018 Jun 20 [Epub]
Christina Voelkel-Johnson, James S Norris, Shai White-Gilbertson
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, United States.