A host of beneficial effects have been attributed to the red wine polyphenol, resveratrol. Foremost, among these are its anti-cancer properties. Yet, the mechanism by which resveratrol achieves these effects are unknown. In this issueof the BJP, Lim et al. report that resveratrol and its higher order oligomers inhibit sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1). SphK1 is a key regulator of sphingolipid metabolism and alterations of this key metabolic pathway have been linked to many hyperproliferative diseases. This study identifies a target for the action of resveratrol and its higher order oligomers and opens the door to evaluation of SphK1 as a target for chemo-prevention of cancer.
This article is a commentary on Lim et al., pp. 1605–1616 of this issue. To view this paper visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.01862.x