Defense Date

2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Santiago Lima

Abstract

Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer both in the United States and worldwide. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for approximately 85% of all lung cancers. However, lung cancer disparities are not shared equally across racial groups, with large differences between African American and Caucasian populations. Advances in research have revealed roles of lipid mediators in cancer biology and disease progression, but sphingolipid alterations in tissues should be explored further. To address this, using mass spectrometry (MS), extensive sphingolipidomic characterization of NSCLC tumors and adjacent uninvolved tissues from African American and Caucasian patients were performed. This study revealed that NSCLC subtypes lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) and lung squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) had higher ceramide and MonoHex-Cer levels in tumor tissues compared to adjacent normal tissues. LSCC tumor tissues 13 showed higher MonoHex-Cer, sphingomyelin, and lactosylceramide levels than in LUAD tumor tissues. Caucasian LUAD and LSCC tumor tissues had higher ceramide and MonoHex-Cer levels than in adjacent normal tissues. African Americans had higher ceramide and MonoHex-Cer levels in LUAD tumor tissues than normal tissues, while there were no differences of sphingolipid levels between LSCC tumor and normal tissues. African Americans had higher sphingosine and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) levels in LUAD tumor tissues compared to adjacent normal tissues. African Americans also had higher ceramide and MonoHex-Cer levels in LSCC normal and tumor tissues compared to Caucasians normal and tumor tissues, respectively. There were correlations between stage and MonoHex-Cer levels in Caucasian LUAD tumor tissues, while African American LSCC tumor tissues were correlated between stage and sphingomyelin levels. Ultimately, this study revealed race and cancer type-specific sphingolipid alterations in African American and Caucasian NSCLC tissues.

Rights

© April Elizabeth Boyd 2020

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

8-7-2020

Available for download on Wednesday, August 06, 2025

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