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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4806541, 17 pages
Review Article

The Role of Sphingosine-1-Phosphate and Ceramide-1-Phosphate in Inflammation and Cancer

Division of Breast Surgery, Departments of Surgical Oncology and Molecular & Cellular Biology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm & Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Nitai C. Hait

Received 31 May 2017; Revised 1 August 2017; Accepted 30 August 2017; Published 15 November 2017

Academic Editor: Alice Alessenko

Copyright © 2017 Nitai C. Hait and Aparna Maiti. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Inflammation is part of our body’s response to tissue injury and pathogens. It helps to recruit various immune cells to the site of inflammation and activates the production of mediators to mobilize systemic protective processes. However, chronic inflammation can increase the risk of diseases like cancer. Apart from cytokines and chemokines, lipid mediators, particularly sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) and ceramide-1-phosphate (C1P), contribute to inflammation and cancer. S1P is an important player in inflammation-associated colon cancer progression. On the other hand, C1P has been recognized to be involved in cancer cell growth, migration, survival, and inflammation. However, whether C1P is involved in inflammation-associated cancer is not yet established. In contrast, few studies have also suggested that S1P and C1P are involved in anti-inflammatory pathways regulated in certain cell types. Ceramide is the substrate for ceramide kinase (CERK) to yield C1P, and sphingosine is phosphorylated to S1P by sphingosine kinases (SphKs). Biological functions of sphingolipid metabolites have been studied extensively. Ceramide is associated with cell growth inhibition and enhancement of apoptosis while S1P and C1P are associated with enhancement of cell growth and survival. Altogether, S1P and C1P are important regulators of ceramide level and cell fate. This review focuses on S1P and C1P involvement in inflammation and cancer with emphasis on recent progress in the field.