Sphingolipids, sphingolipid metabolizing enzymes, and their receptors network are being recognized as part of the signaling mechanisms, which govern breast cancer cell growth, migration, and survival during chemotherapy treatment. Approximately 70% of breast cancers are estrogen receptor (ER) positive and, thus, rely on estrogen signaling. Estrogen activates an intracellular network composed of many cytoplasmic and nuclear mediators. Some estrogen effects can be mediated by sphingolipids. Estrogen activates sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1) and amplifies the intracellular concentration of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) in breast cancer cells during stimulation of proliferation and survival. Specifically, Estrogen activates S1P receptors (S1PR) and induces growth factor receptor transactivation. SphK, S1P, and S1PR expression are causally associated with endocrine resistance and progression to advanced tumor stages in ER-positive breast cancers in vivo
. Recently, the network of SphK/S1PR was shown to promote the development of ER-negative cancers and breast cancer stem cells, as well as stimulating angiogenesis. Novel findings confirm and broaden our knowledge about the cross-talk between sphingolipids and estrogen network in normal and malignant cells. Current S1PRs therapeutic inhibition was indicated as a promising chemotherapy approach in non-responsive and advanced malignancies. Considering that sphingolipid signaling has a prominent role in terminally differentiated cells, the impact should be considered when designing specific SphK/S1PR inhibitors. This study analyzes the dynamic of the transformation of sphingolipid axis during a transition from normal to pathological condition on the level of the whole organism. The sphingolipid-based mediation and facilitation of global effects of estrogen were critically accented as a bridging mechanism that should be explored in cancer prevention.
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