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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2011 Jul;43(7):1010-20. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2010.05.001. Epub 2010 May 10.

Uncovering the metabolomic fingerprint of breast cancer.

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Department of Oncology, Hospital of Prato, Istituto Toscano Tumori, Prato, Italy.


Metabolomics, the study of metabolites and small intermediate molecules, may play a key role in further elucidation of breast cancer. This dynamic, simultaneous assessment of thousands of metabolites allows identification of the presence, concentration and fluxes of specific metabolites, and recognition of the critical metabolic pathways recruited in carcinogenesis. Studies of tumour cell and tissue allow focused analysis on the tumour, whilst studies of biofluids have the appeal of concurrent assessment of tumour and host. Elucidation of these metabolites and pathways may provide essential insights into both the intercellular environment and host/tumour interaction, allowing recognition of new biomarkers for diagnosis and prediction of outcome, new therapy targets and novel approaches for monitoring response and toxicity. Certainly, the field of metabolomics may evolve as a valuable, complementary clinical tool. In this review, current metabolomic data in breast cancer will be presented. The dominant metabolic pathways and metabolite disturbances associated with malignant transformation of breast cells will be outlined, leading to an overview of potential clinical implications for individuals with breast cancer.

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