Sphingosine-1-phosphate mediates a reciprocal signaling pathway between stellate cells and cancer cells that promotes pancreatic cancer growth

Yan Bi, Jiachu Li, Baoan Ji, Ningling Kang, Liu Yang, Douglas A. Simonetto, Jung H. Kwon, Marielle Kamath, Sheng Cao, Vijay Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is produced by sphingosine kinase 1 and is implicated in tumor growth, although the mechanisms remain incompletely understood. Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) reside within the tumor microenvironment and may regulate tumor progression. We hypothesized that S1P activates PSCs to release paracrine factors, which, in turn, increase cancer cell invasion and growth.We used a combination of human tissue, in vitro, and in vivo studies to mechanistically evaluate this concept. Sphingosine kinase 1 was overexpressed in human pancreatic tissue, especially within tumor cells. S1P activated PSCs in vitro and conditioned medium from S1P-stimulated PSCs, increased pancreatic cancer cell migration, and invasion, which was dependent on S1P2, ABL1 (alias c-Abl) kinase, and matrix metalloproteinase-9. In vivo studies showed that pancreatic cancer cells co-implanted with S1P2 receptor knockdown PSCs led to less cancer growth and metastasis in s.c. and orthotopic pancreatic cancer models compared with control PSCs. Pancreatic cancer cellederived S1P activates PSCs to release paracrine factors, including matrix metalloproteinase-9, which reciprocally promotes tumor cell migration and invasion in vitro and cancer growth in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2791-2802
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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