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J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2014 Jan;87:1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2013.08.041. Epub 2013 Sep 14.

Metabolomics in cancer biomarker discovery: current trends and future perspectives.

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Centre for Metabolomics and Bioanalysis (CEMBIO), Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidad San Pablo CEU, Campus Monteprincipe, Boadilla del Monte, 28668 Madrid, Spain.


Cancer is one of the most devastating human diseases that causes a vast number of mortalities worldwide each year. Cancer research is one of the largest fields in the life sciences and despite many astounding breakthroughs and contributions over the past few decades, there is still a considerable amount to unveil on the function of cancer. It is well known that cancer metabolism differs from that of normal tissue and an important hypothesis published in the 1950s by Otto Warburg proposed that cancer cells rely on anaerobic metabolism as the source for energy, even under physiological oxygen levels. Following this, cancer central carbon metabolism has been researched extensively and beyond respiration, cancer has been found to involve a wide range of metabolic processes, and many more are still to be unveiled. Studying cancer through metabolomics could reveal new biomarkers for cancer that could be useful for its future prognosis, diagnosis and therapy. Metabolomics is becoming an increasingly popular tool in the life sciences since it is a relatively fast and accurate technique that can be applied with either a particular focus or in a global manner to reveal new knowledge about biological systems. There have been many examples of its application to reveal potential biomarkers in different cancers that have employed a range of different analytical platforms. In this review, approaches in metabolomics that have been employed in cancer biomarker discovery are discussed and some of the most noteworthy research in the field is highlighted.


Biological samples; Biomarker; Cancer; Fingerprinting; Metabolomics

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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