Treating drug resistant cancer through targeted inhibition of sphingosine kinase

Scientists at Tulane University School of Medicine, led by Dr. James Antoon and Dr. Barbara Beckman, have characterized two drugs targeting sphingosine kinase (SK), an enzyme involved in cancer growth and metastasis. New treatments specifically attacking cancer cells, but not normal ones, are critical in the fight against cancer. The results, which appear in the July 2012 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, demonstrate the role of SK in drug resistance and therapeutic potential of SK inhibitors.

"Sphingosine kinase is a relatively new molecular target," says Dr. Beckman "In this study, we show that overexpression of SK promotes resistance to first-line breast cancer therapies, such as tamoxifen. We further found that treatment with the sphingosine kinase inhibitors SKI-II and ABC294640 induced cell death and blocked drug-resistant tumor growth without similar effects in a model system representing relatively normal ."

Molecular therapies, such as those targeting SK, have the potential to improve treatment response rates while simultaneously decreasing side effects. However, Dr. Antoon cautions that "while these results are promising, further study is needed to fully understand the benefits and risks associated with treating drug resistant cancer with these SK inhibitors."

Dr. Steven R. Goodman, Editor-in-Chief of said "Dr. Antoon, Dr. Beckman and colleagues present exciting results indicating the need for further study of inhibitors of sphingosine kinase as promising new cancer treatments".

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Potential new therapeutic molecular target to fight cancer

Nov 01, 2007

Researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center have identified the enzyme sphingosine kinase 2 as a possible new therapeutic target to improve the efficacy of chemotherapy for colon and breast cancer.

Therapy targets leukemia stem cells

Feb 13, 2012

New research takes aim at stubborn cancer stem cells that are thought to be responsible for treatment resistance and relapse. The study, published by Cell Press in the February 14 issue of the journal Cancer Cell, provid ...

Deciphering the body's healing secrets

Feb 12, 2009

Healthy blood vessels play a key role in the prevention and treatment of diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Endothelial cells line the blood vessels and are critical to the regulation of blood vessel growth ...

Recommended for you

Why we should vaccinate boys against HPV as well as girls

3 hours ago

Gillian Prue, from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's University of Belfast, says that the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is common in men and can lead to genital warts and the development of some head and ...

Generation of tanners see spike in deadly melanoma

15 hours ago

(AP)—Stop sunbathing and using indoor tanning beds, the acting U.S. surgeon general warned in a report released Tuesday that cites an alarming 200 percent jump in deadly melanoma cases since 1973.

Penn team makes cancer glow to improve surgical outcomes

15 hours ago

The best way to cure most cases of cancer is to surgically remove the tumor. The Achilles heel of this approach, however, is that the surgeon may fail to extract the entire tumor, leading to a local recurrence.

User comments