Targeting Acid Ceramidase Inhibits Glioblastoma Cell Migration through Decreased AKT Signaling

Academic Article


  • Glioblastoma (GBM) remains one of the most aggressive cancers, partially due to its ability to migrate into the surrounding brain. The sphingolipid balance, or the balance between ceramides and sphingosine-1-phosphate, contributes to the ability of GBM cells to migrate or invade. Of the ceramidases which hydrolyze ceramides, acid ceramidase (ASAH1) is highly expressed in GBM samples compared to non-tumor brain. ASAH1 expression also correlates with genes associated with migration and focal adhesion. To understand the role of ASAH1 in GBM migration, we utilized shRNA knockdown and observed decreased migration that did not depend upon changes in growth. Next, we inhibited ASAH1 using carmofur, a clinically utilized small molecule inhibitor. Inhibition of ASAH1 by carmofur blocks in vitro migration of U251 (GBM cell line) and GBM cells derived from patient-derived xenografts (PDXs). RNA-sequencing suggested roles for carmofur in MAPK and AKT signaling. We found that carmofur treatment decreases phosphorylation of AKT, but not of MAPK. The decrease in AKT phosphorylation was confirmed by shRNA knockdown of ASAH1. Our findings substantiate ASAH1 inhibition using carmofur as a potential clinically relevant treatment to advance GBM therapeutics, particularly due to its impact on migration.
  • Published In

  • Cells  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hawkins CC; Jones AB; Gordon ER; Williford SE; Harsh Y; Ziebro JK; Landis CJ; Gc S; Crossman DK; Cooper SJ
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 12