Molecular Medicine

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 65–75 | Cite as

Therapeutic Potential of SH2 Domain-Containing Inositol-5′-Phosphatase 1 (SHIP1) and SHIP2 Inhibition in Cancer

  • Gwenny M. Fuhler
  • Robert Brooks
  • Bonnie Toms
  • Sonia Iyer
  • Elizabeth A. Gengo
  • Mi-Young Park
  • Matthew Gumbleton
  • Dennis R. Viernes
  • John D. Chisholm
  • William G. Kerr
Research Article


Many tumors present with increased activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-PtdIns(3,4,5)P3-protein kinase B (PKB/Akt) signaling pathway. It has long been thought that the lipid phosphatases SH2 domain-containing inositol-5′-phosphatase 1 (SHIP1) and SHIP2 act as tumor suppressors by counteracting with the survival signal induced by this pathway through hydrolysis or PtdIns(3/4/5)P3 to PtdIns(3,4)P2. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that PtdInd(3,4)P2 is capable of, and essential for, Akt activation, thus suggesting a potential role for SHIP1/2 enzymes as proto-oncogenes. We recently described a novel SHIP1-selective chemical inhibitor (3α-aminocholestane (3AC)) that is capable of killing malignant hematologic cells. In this study, we further investigate the biochemical consequences of 3AC treatment in multiple myeloma (MM) and demonstrate that SHIP1 inhibition arrests MM cell lines in either G0/G1 or G2/M stages of the cell cycle, leading to caspase activation and apoptosis. In addition, we show that in vivo growth of MM cells is blocked by treatment of mice with the SHIP1 inhibitor 3AC. Furthermore, we identify three novel pan-SHIP1/2 inhibitors that efficiently kill MM cells through G2/M arrest, caspase activation and apoptosis induction. Interestingly, in SHIP2-expressing breast cancer cells that lack SHIP1 expression, pan-SHIP1/2 inhibition also reduces viable cell numbers, which can be rescued by addition of exogenous PtdIns(3,4)P2. In conclusion, this study shows that inhibition of SHIP1 and SHIP2 may have broad clinical application in the treatment of multiple tumor types.



This work was supported in parts by grants from the National Institutes of Health (RO1 HL72523, RO1 HL095580, RO1 HL107127-01) and the Paige Arnold Butterfly Run. WG Kerr is the Murphy Family Professor of Children’s Oncology Research. GM Fuhler was supported by the Dutch Cancer Society (grant 2010-4737) and the Vereniging Trustfonds, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

All in vivo studies were performed with approval from the Committee on the Humane Use of Animals at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Supplementary material

10020_2012_1801065_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (705 kb)
Therapeutic Potential of SH2 Domain-Containing Inositol-5′-Phosphatase 1 (SHIP1) and SHIP2 Inhibition in Cancer


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Gwenny M. Fuhler
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert Brooks
    • 1
  • Bonnie Toms
    • 3
  • Sonia Iyer
    • 1
  • Elizabeth A. Gengo
    • 1
  • Mi-Young Park
    • 1
  • Matthew Gumbleton
    • 1
  • Dennis R. Viernes
    • 4
  • John D. Chisholm
    • 4
  • William G. Kerr
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyState University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical UniversitySyracuseUSA
  2. 2.Department of Gastroenterology and HepatologyUniversity Medical Center RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsSUNY Upstate Medical UniversitySyracuseUSA
  4. 4.Department of ChemistrySyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA

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