Synthetic alkylphospholipids (APLs), exhibit similarity to the platelet-activating factor (PAF). These compounds have antiproliferative effects on tumour cells and can therefore be regarded as a new class of drugs. Unlike classic cytostatic agents, synthetic alkylphospholipids do not interfere with the DNA or the mitotic spindle apparatus. Instead, due to their aliphatic character, alkylphospholipids accumulate in cell membranes, where they have an impact on lipid metabolism and lipid-dependent signalling pathways which leads to inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis in malignant cells. Normal cells remain unaffected by these compounds.
Glycosidated phospholipids, are a novel class of alkylphospholipids, in which carbohydrates or carbohydrate-related molecules are introduced in the chemical lead of PAF. These hybrid alkylphospholipids also exhibit anti-proliferative capacity. Furthermore, members of this subfamily also modulate cell adhesion, differentiation, apoptosis and migration of tumour cells. Among the members of this group, Inositol-C2-platelet-activating factor (Ino-C2-PAF) is the most effective compound developed so far. Recently, we also showed that Ino-C2-PAF exhibited the strongest impact on the gene expression levels of immortalised keratinocytes in comparison to edelfosine and another glycosidated alkylphospholipid, Glucose-platelet-activating factor (Glc-PAF). Furthermore, Ino-C2-PAF reduced the expression of genes encoding proteins associated with inflammation and the innate and acquired immune responses.