The role and function of sphingolipids in glioblastoma multiforme

Loubna Abdel Hadi, Clara Di Vito, Giovanni Marfia, Stefania Elena Navone, Rolando Campanella, Laura Riboni

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Aberrations in sphingolipid metabolism and thus levels have been implicated in promoting the aggressiveness of glioblastoma multiforme, one of the most lethal cancers in humans. A major player is sphingosine-1-phosphate, that pressures GBM cells to exhibit its hallmarks, leading to increased proliferation, invasiveness, stemness, angiogenesis and death resistance, this indicating a fine balance and interplay between S1P function and this malignancy. To the opposite GBM are organized to maintain low their ceramide and sphingomyelin levels, which in turn lead to a loss of growth control and to a gain of death resistance. While the mechanisms of these alterations are emerging, the sphingolipid signaling pathway has been implicated in controlling GBM action and mass, and in mediating the link of malignancy. Here we describe and discuss the current understanding on how GBM cells arm themselves with the abilities of manipulating sphingolipids, especially sphingosine- 1-phosphate and ceramide, and how these alterations, through differential interactions, regulate different signaling pathways, and integrate GBM function and mass, thus providing molecular cues for GBM properties and progression. It is a future challenge unrevealing how the multiforme features of sphingolipid signaling could be effectively manipulated as strategies to optimize the efficacy and selectivity of future therapies for GBM.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBioactive Sphingolipids in Cancer Biology and Therapy
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages35
ISBN (Print)9783319207506, 9783319207490
Publication statusPublished - Aug 28 2015


  • Ceramide
  • Ceramide synthase
  • Glioblastoma hallmarks
  • Glioblastoma multiforme
  • Glucosylceramide synthase
  • Sphingolipids
  • Sphingomyelin synthase
  • Sphingomyelinase
  • Sphingosine kinase
  • Sphingosine-1-phosphate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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