Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), a potent oncogenic lipid. Intracellular levels of S1P are tightly regulated by eight S1P metabolizing enzymes. S1P is synthesized by phosphorylation of sphingosine which is catalyzed by two sphingosine kinases (SphK1 and SphK2). Five lipid phosphatases (two S1P phosphatases and three lipid phosphate phosphatases) reversibly convert S1P back to sphingosine. S1P is ultimately irreversibly degraded by S1P lyase. The role of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) metabolizing enzymes in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) has not been fully studied.
In the current study, we have determined the protein expression of four S1P metabolizing enzymes, namely sphingosine Kinase (SphK) -1, SphK2, S1P phosphatase 1 (SGPP1), and lipid phosphate phosphatase 3 (LPP3) by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and western botting in tumor tissues of 46 OSCC patients and normal oral mucosa (N = 6). Further, we determined the associations of expression of S1P metabolizing enzymes with clinicopathological features of OSCC patients.
SphK2 and LPP3 exhibit low IRS in OSCC tumors. Importantly, expression of SphK2 and LPP3 was downregulated in malignant cells compared to non-malignant mucosa. Further, LPP3 expression negatively correlated with TNM staging of patients (ρ = -0.307, p = 0.043). Importantly, TCGA analysis revealed that LPP3 expression was positively correlated with infiltration of B cells, neutrophils, macrophages, and dendritic cells in the HNSCC tumors.
In conclusion, our data show that expression of SphK2 and LPP3 is decreased in OSCC tumors compared to normal mucosa. Thus, LPP3 could represent a potential prognostic marker and therapeutic target for OSCC.