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Sci Rep


5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is a chemotherapeutic drug widely used to treat colorectal cancer. 5-FU is known to gradually lose its efficacy in treating colorectal cancer following the acquisition of resistance. We investigated the mechanism of 5-FU resistance using comprehensive lipidomic approaches. We performed lipidomic analysis on 5-FU-resistant (DLD-1/5-FU) and -sensitive (DLD-1) colorectal cancer cells using MALDI-MS and LC-MRM-MS. In particular, sphingomyelin (SM) species were significantly up-regulated in 5-FU-resistant cells in MALDI-TOF analysis. Further, we quantified sphingolipids including SM and Ceramide (Cer) using Multiple Reaction Monitoring (MRM), as they play a vital role in drug resistance. We found that 5-FU resistance in DLD-1/5-FU colorectal cancer cells was mainly associated with SM increase and Cer decrease, which are controlled by acid sphingomyelinase (SMPD1). In addition, reduction of SMPD1 expression was confirmed by LC-MRM-MS analysis and the effect of SMPD1 in drug resistance was assessed by treating DLD-1 cells with siRNA-SMPD1. Furthermore, clinical colorectal cancer data set analysis showed that down-regulation of SMPD1 was associated with resistance to chemotherapy regimens that include 5-FU. Thus, from our study, we propose that SM/Cer and SMPD1 are new potential target molecules for therapeutic strategies to overcome 5-FU resistance.

Clinical Institute



Institute for Systems Biology