Review of mass spectrometry-based metabolomics in cancer research.

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology (2013)

Keywords:

2013, October 2013, Public Health Sciences Division

Abstract:

Metabolomics, the systematic investigation of all metabolites present within a biological system, is used in biomarker development for many human diseases, including cancer. In this review we investigate the current role of mass spectrometry-based metabolomics in cancer research. A literature review was carried out within the databases PubMed, Embase and Web of Knowledge. We included 106 studies reporting on 21 different types of cancer in 7 different sample types. Metabolomics in cancer research is most often used for case-control comparisons. Secondary applications include translational areas, such as patient prognosis, therapy control and tumor classification or grading. Metabolomics is at a developmental stage with respect to epidemiology, with the majority of studies including <100 patients. Standardization is required especially concerning sample preparation and data analysis. In a second part of this review, we reconstructed a metabolic network of cancer patients by quantitatively extracting all reports of altered metabolites: Alterations in energy metabolism, membrane and fatty acid synthesis emerged, with tryptophan levels changed most frequently in various cancers. Metabolomics has the potential to evolve into a standard tool for future applications in epidemiology and translational cancer research, but further, large-scale studies including prospective validation are needed.