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Magn Reson Med. 2014 Jun;71(6):1973-81. doi: 10.1002/mrm.24869. Epub 2013 Jul 22.

Quantitative (31)P HR-MAS MR spectroscopy for detection of response to PI3K/mTOR inhibition in breast cancer xenografts.

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Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.



Phospholipid metabolites are of importance in cancer studies, and have been suggested as candidate metabolic biomarkers for response to targeted anticancer drugs. The purpose of this study was to develop a phosphorus ((31) P) high resolution magic angle spinning magnetic resonance spectroscopy protocol for quantification of phosphorylated metabolites in intact cancer tissue.


(31) P spectra were acquired on a 14.1 T spectrometer with a triplet (1) H/(13) C/(31) P MAS probe. Quantification of metabolites was performed using the PULCON principle. Basal-like and luminal-like breast cancer xenografts were treated with the dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor BEZ235, and the impact of treatment on the concentration of phosphocholine, glycerophosphocholine, phosphoethanolamine and glycerophosphoethanolamine was evaluated.


In basal-like xenografts, BEZ235 treatment induced a significant decrease in phosphoethanolamine (-25.6%, P = 0.01) whilst phosphocholine (16.5%, P = 0.02) and glycerophosphocholine (37.3%, P < 0.001) were significantly increased. The metabolic changes could partially be explained by increased levels of phospholipase A2 group 4A (PLA2G4A).


(31) P high resolution magic angle spinning magnetic resonance spectroscopy is a useful method for quantitative assessment of metabolic responses to PI3K inhibition. Using the PULCON principle for quantification, the levels of phosphocholine, glycerophosphocholine, phosphoethanolamine, and glycerophosphoethanolamine could be evaluated with high precision and accuracy.


absolute quantification; choline metabolism; ethanolamine; glycerophosphocholine; phospholipase A2; phospholipid

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