Biochemical and biophysical research communications

High expression of sphingosine kinase 1 is associated with poor prognosis in nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

PMID 25778867


It has been reported that sphingosine kinase 1 (SPHK1), an oncogenic enzyme, was involved in the development and progression of a number of human cancers. However, the role of SPHK1 in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is largely unknown. The present study aimed to characterize the expression of SPHK1 in human NPC and evaluate its clinical significance. Real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and Western blot analyses showed that the expression of SPHK1 mRNA and protein in NPC specimens was significantly higher than that in non-tumorous nasopharyngeal mucosa biopsies. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was conducted to characterize the expression pattern of SPHK1 in 142 archived paraffin-embedded NPC specimens. Statistical analyses revealed that high levels of SPHK1 expression were associated with the clinical stages, locoregional recurrence and distant metastasis of NPC. NPC patients with high levels of SPHK1 expression had shorter survival time, whereas those with lower levels of SPHK1 expression survived longer. Moreover, multivariate analysis suggested that SPHK1 up-regulation was an independent prognostic factor for NPC. Our results suggest for the first time that SPHK1 is involved in the development and progression of NPC, which can be used as a useful prognostic marker for NPC patients and may be an effective target for treating NPC.