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Front Physiol. 2016 Dec 27;7:644. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2016.00644. eCollection 2016.

Personalized Prediction of Proliferation Rates and Metabolic Liabilities in Cancer Biopsies.

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Human Systems Biology Laboratory, Instituto Nacional de Medicina Genómica México City, Mexico.
Human Systems Biology Laboratory, Instituto Nacional de Medicina GenómicaMéxico City, Mexico; Coordinación de la Investigación Científica, Red de Apoyo a la Investigación, UNAMMéxico City, Mexico.


Cancer is a heterogeneous disease and its genetic and metabolic mechanism may manifest differently in each patient. This creates a demand for studies that can characterize phenotypic traits of cancer on a per-sample basis. Combining two large data sets, the NCI60 cancer cell line panel, and The Cancer Genome Atlas, we used a linear interaction model to predict proliferation rates for more than 12,000 cancer samples across 33 different cancers from The Cancer Genome Atlas. The predicted proliferation rates are associated with patient survival and cancer stage and show a strong heterogeneity in proliferative capacity within and across different cancer panels. We also show how the obtained proliferation rates can be incorporated into genome-scale metabolic reconstructions to obtain the metabolic fluxes for more than 3000 cancer samples that identified specific metabolic liabilities for nine cancer panels. Here we found that affected pathways coincided with the literature, with pentose phosphate pathway, retinol, and branched-chain amino acid metabolism being the most panel-specific alterations and fatty acid metabolism and ROS detoxification showing homogeneous metabolic activities across all cancer panels. The presented strategy has potential applications in personalized medicine since it can leverage gene expression signatures for cell line based prediction of additional metabolic properties which might help in constraining personalized metabolic models and improve the identification of metabolic alterations in cancer for individual patients.


NCI60; TCGA; flux balance analysis; personalized medicine; proliferation; systems biology

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