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Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2012 Dec;5(12):1337-40. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-12-0433. Epub 2012 Nov 14.

Expanding the reach of cancer metabolomics.

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Department of Bioengineering, Institute of Engineering in Medicine, Moores Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Metabolism is again emerging as a key property that differentiates normal cells from neoplastic tissues. The coupling of this phenomenon with advanced bioanalytic methods may now open new avenues for diagnostics in cancer via discovery of chemical biomarkers. In this issue of Cancer Prevention Research, Montrose and colleagues apply metabolic profiling to a model of chemically induced colorectal cancer and describe the metabolomic landscape of colorectal tumors and associated biofluids in great detail. Their analysis of plasma and fecal metabolites provides inroads into the noninvasive detection of colorectal cancer using biochemical markers, as some conserved metabolic changes were altered across tumors, plasma, and feces. Meanwhile, the specific alterations identified in this study offer insights into potential metabolic drivers of colorectal cancer. For example, elevated sarcosine and 2-hydroxyglutarate were detected in these induced tumors, implicating their respective metabolic pathways and downstream interactions in colorectal cancer progression. This work highlights the potential value of cancer metabolomics for the noninvasive analysis of colorectal neoplasias while underscoring the importance of profiling diverse sample sets and metabolites in relevant cancer models to identify and validate such findings.

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