Long and very-long-chain ceramides correlate with a more aggressive behavior in skull base chordoma patients

Emanuele La Corte, Michele Dei Cas, Alberto Raggi, Monica Patanè, Morgan Broggi, Silvia Schiavolin, Chiara Calatozzolo, Bianca Pollo, Carlotta Pipolo, Maria Grazia Bruzzone, Giuseppe Campisi, Rita Paroni, Riccardo Ghidoni, Paolo Ferroli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Skull base chordomas are rare tumors arising from notochord. Sphingolipids analysis is a promising approach in molecular oncology, and it has never been applied in chordomas. Our aim is to investigate chordoma behavior and the role of ceramides. Methods: Ceramides were extracted and evaluated by liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry in a cohort of patients with a skull base chordoma. Clinical data were also collected and correlated with ceramide levels. Linear regression and correlation analyses were conducted. Results: Analyzing the association between ceramides level and MIB-1, total ceramides and dihydroceramides showed a strong association (r = 0.7257 and r = 0.6733, respectively) with MIB-1 staining (p = 0.0033 and p = 0.0083, respectively). Among the single ceramide species, Cer C24:1 (r = 0.8814, p ≥ 0.0001), DHCer C24:1 (r = 0.8429, p = 0.0002) and DHCer C18:0 (r = 0.9426, p ≥ 0.0001) showed a significant correlation with MIB-1. Conclusion: Our lipid analysis showed ceramides to be promising tumoral biomarkers in skull base chordomas. Long- and very-long-chain ceramides, such as Cer C24:1 and DHCer C24:1, may be related to a prolonged tumor survival and aggressiveness, and the understanding of their effective biological role will hopefully shed light on the mechanisms of chordoma radio-resistance, tendency to recur, and use of agents targeting ceramide metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4480
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2 2019


  • Cancer
  • Ceramides
  • Chordoma
  • Dihydroceramides
  • Lipid targets
  • Skull base
  • Sphingolipids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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