Metabolic changes during ovarian cancer progression as targets for sphingosine treatment

Angela S. Anderson, Paul C. Roberts, Madlyn I. Frisard, Ryan P. McMillan, Timothy J. Brown, Michael H. Lawless, Matthew W. Hulver, Eva M. Schmelz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Tumor cells often exhibit an altered metabolic phenotype. However, it is unclear as to when this switch takes place in ovarian cancer, and the potential for these changes to serve as therapeutic targets in clinical prevention and intervention trials. We used our recently developed and characterized mouse ovarian surface epithelial (MOSE) cancer progression model to study metabolic changes in distinct disease stages. As ovarian cancer progresses, complete oxidation of glucose and fatty acids were significantly decreased, concurrent with increases in lactate excretion and 3H-deoxyglucose uptake by the late-stage cancer cells, shifting the cells towards a more glycolytic phenotype. These changes were accompanied by decreases in TCA flux but an increase in citrate synthase activity, providing substrates for de novo fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis. Also, uncoupled maximal respiration rates in mitochondria decreased as cancer progressed. Treatment of the MOSE cells with 1.5μM sphingosine, a bioactive sphingolipid metabolite, decreased citrate synthase activity, increased TCA flux, decreased cholesterol synthesis and glycolysis. Together, our data confirm metabolic changes during ovarian cancer progression, indicate a stage specificity of these changes, and suggest that multiple events in cellular metabolism are targeted by exogenous sphingosine which may be critical for future prevention trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1431-1442
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jun 10 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer progression
  • Cholesterol
  • Citrate synthase
  • Metabolism
  • Sphingosine
  • Substrate flux

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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