Aberrant sphingolipid metabolism has been implicated in chemoresistance, but the underlying mechanisms are still poorly understood. Herein we revealed a previously unrecognized mechanism of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) resistance contributed by high SphK2-upregulated dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) in colorectal cancer (CRC), which is evidenced from human CRC specimens, animal models, and cancer cell lines. TMA samples from randomly selected 60 CRC specimens firstly identified the clinical correlation between high SphK2 and increased DPD (p < 0.001). Then the regulatory mechanism was explored in CRC models of villin-SphK2 Tg mice, SphK2−/−mice, and human CRC cells xenografted nude mice. Assays of ChIP-Seq and luciferase reporter gene demonstrated that high SphK2 upregulated DPD through promoting the HDAC1-mediated H3K56ac, leading to the degradation of intracellular 5-FU into inactive α-fluoro-β-alanine (FBAL). Lastly, inhibition of SphK2 by SLR080811 exhibited excellent inhibition on DPD expression and potently reversed 5-FU resistance in colorectal tumors of villin-SphK2 Tg mice. Overall, this study manifests that SphK2high conferred 5-FU resistance through upregulating tumoral DPD, which highlights the strategies of blocking SphK2 to overcome 5-FU resistance in CRC.
Zhang, Y. H., Shi, W. N., Wu, S. H., Miao, R. R., Sun, S. Y., Luo, D. D., … Qu, X. J. (2020). SphK2 confers 5-fluorouracil resistance to colorectal cancer via upregulating H3K56ac-mediated DPD expression. Oncogene, 39(29), 5214–5227. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41388-020-1352-y