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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Aug;1832(8):1207-16. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2013.03.009. Epub 2013 Mar 20.

Metabolic signatures of esophageal cancer: NMR-based metabolomics and UHPLC-based focused metabolomics of blood serum.

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State Key Laboratory of Applied Organic Chemistry, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China.


Focused metabolic profiling is a powerful tool for the determination of biomarkers. Here, a more global proton nuclear magnetic resonance ((1)H NMR)-based metabolomic approach coupled with a relative simple ultra high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC)-based focused metabolomic approach was developed and compared to characterize the systemic metabolic disturbances underlying esophageal cancer (EC) and identify possible early biomarkers for clinical prognosis. Serum metabolic profiling of patients with EC (n=25) and healthy controls (n=25) was performed by using both (1)H NMR and UHPLC, and metabolite identification was achieved by multivariate statistical analysis. Using orthogonal projection to least squares discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA), we could distinguish EC patients from healthy controls. The predictive power of the model derived from the UHPLC-based focused metabolomics performed better in both sensitivity and specificity than the results from the NMR-based metabolomics, suggesting that the focused metabolomic technique may be of advantage in the future for the determination of biomarkers. Moreover, focused metabolic profiling is highly simple, accurate and specific, and should prove equally valuable in metabolomic research applications. A total of nineteen significantly altered metabolites were identified as the potential disease associated biomarkers. Significant changes in lipid metabolism, amino acid metabolism, glycolysis, ketogenesis, tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and energy metabolism were observed in EC patients compared with the healthy controls. These results demonstrated that metabolic profiling of serum could be useful as a screening tool for early EC diagnosis and prognosis, and might enhance our understanding of the mechanisms involved in the tumor progression.

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