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Review

Targeting the Sphingosine Kinase/Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Signaling Axis in Drug Discovery for Cancer Therapy

1
Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Basic Sciences, Jamia Millia Islamia, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi 110025, India
2
Department of Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, King Saud University, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mohd W. Nasser, Shahab Uddin and Dmitry Pshezhetskiy
Cancers 2021, 13(8), 1898; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13081898
Received: 13 February 2021 / Revised: 11 March 2021 / Accepted: 3 April 2021 / Published: 15 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Targeting Signal Transduction Pathways in Cancer)
Cancer is the prime cause of death globally. The altered stimulation of signaling pathways controlled by human kinases has often been observed in various human malignancies. The over-expression of SphK1 (a lipid kinase) and its metabolite S1P have been observed in various types of cancer and metabolic disorders, making it a potential therapeutic target. Here, we discuss the sphingolipid metabolism along with the critical enzymes involved in the pathway. The review provides comprehensive details of SphK isoforms, including their functional role, activation, and involvement in various human malignancies. An overview of different SphK inhibitors at different phases of clinical trials and can potentially be utilized as cancer therapeutics has also been reviewed.
Sphingolipid metabolites have emerged as critical players in the regulation of various physiological processes. Ceramide and sphingosine induce cell growth arrest and apoptosis, whereas sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) promotes cell proliferation and survival. Here, we present an overview of sphingolipid metabolism and the compartmentalization of various sphingolipid metabolites. In addition, the sphingolipid rheostat, a fine metabolic balance between ceramide and S1P, is discussed. Sphingosine kinase (SphK) catalyzes the synthesis of S1P from sphingosine and modulates several cellular processes and is found to be essentially involved in various pathophysiological conditions. The regulation and biological functions of SphK isoforms are discussed. The functions of S1P, along with its receptors, are further highlighted. The up-regulation of SphK is observed in various cancer types and is also linked to radio- and chemoresistance and poor prognosis in cancer patients. Implications of the SphK/S1P signaling axis in human pathologies and its inhibition are discussed in detail. Overall, this review highlights current findings on the SphK/S1P signaling axis from multiple angles, including their functional role, mechanism of activation, involvement in various human malignancies, and inhibitor molecules that may be used in cancer therapy. View Full-Text
Keywords: sphingosine metabolism; sphingosine kinase; cancer therapy; kinase inhibitors; drug design and discovery sphingosine metabolism; sphingosine kinase; cancer therapy; kinase inhibitors; drug design and discovery
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gupta, P.; Taiyab, A.; Hussain, A.; Alajmi, M.F.; Islam, A.; Hassan, M.I. Targeting the Sphingosine Kinase/Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Signaling Axis in Drug Discovery for Cancer Therapy. Cancers 2021, 13, 1898. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13081898

AMA Style

Gupta P, Taiyab A, Hussain A, Alajmi MF, Islam A, Hassan MI. Targeting the Sphingosine Kinase/Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Signaling Axis in Drug Discovery for Cancer Therapy. Cancers. 2021; 13(8):1898. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13081898

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gupta, Preeti, Aaliya Taiyab, Afzal Hussain, Mohamed F. Alajmi, Asimul Islam, and Md. Imtaiyaz Hassan. 2021. "Targeting the Sphingosine Kinase/Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Signaling Axis in Drug Discovery for Cancer Therapy" Cancers 13, no. 8: 1898. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13081898

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