Acid ceramidase upregulation in prostate cancer: role in tumor development and implications for therapy

Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2009 Dec;13(12):1449-58. doi: 10.1517/14728220903357512.


Bioactive sphingolipids, such as ceramide, sphingosine and sphingosine-1-phosphate are known bio-effector molecules which play important roles in various aspects of cancer biology including cell proliferation, growth arrest, apoptosis, metastasis, senescence and inflammation. Therefore, enzymes involved in ceramide metabolism are gaining recognition as being critical regulators of cancer cell growth and/or survival. We previously observed that the ceramide metabolizing enzyme, acid ceramidase (AC) is upregulated in tumor tissues. Studies have now concluded that this creates a dysfunctional ceramide pathway, which is responsible for tumor progression and resistance to chemotherapy and radiation. This suggests that development of small-molecule drugs that inhibit AC enzyme activity is a promising approach for improving standard cancer therapy and patient's clinical outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acid Ceramidase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Acid Ceramidase / biosynthesis*
  • Acid Ceramidase / genetics
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Ceramides / metabolism
  • Ceramides / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostate / enzymology
  • Prostate / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Sphingolipids / metabolism
  • Sphingolipids / physiology
  • Up-Regulation / physiology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Ceramides
  • Sphingolipids
  • Acid Ceramidase