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Acta Biochim Pol. 2017;64(1):189-193. doi: 10.18388/abp.2016_1301. Epub 2016 Nov 4.

Ionizing radiation affects profile of serum metabolites: increased level of 3-hydroxybutyric acid in serum of cancer patients treated with radiotherapy.

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Maria Skłodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center and Institute of Oncology, Gliwice, Poland.
Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznań, Poland.
Warwick Systems Biology Centre, University of Warwick, Warwick, United Kingdom.


Radiotherapy causes molecular changes observed at the level of body fluids, which are potential biomarker candidates for assessment of radiation exposure. Here we analyzed radiotherapy-induced changes in a profile of small metabolites detected in sera of head and neck cancer patients using the gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry approach. There were about 20 compounds, including carboxylic acids, sugars, amines and amino acids, whose levels significantly differed between pre-treatment and post-treatment samples. Among metabolites upregulated by radiotherapy there was 3-hydroxybutyric acid, whose level increased about three times in post-treatment samples. Moreover, compounds affected by irradiation were associated with several metabolic pathways, including protein biosynthesis and amino acid metabolism.


head and neck cancer; mass spectrometry; metabolomics; radiation response; serum metabolome

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