Metabolomics is able to sensitively identify specific metabolic phenotypes resulting from the action of genetic alterations, diseases and environmental factors, with an advantage in the study of the effects of environmental changes on the organism. Nowadays, metabolomics is widely used in various research fields, especially in the field of tumor biology, which is becoming a hot research topic.
Application of metabolomics in tumor research
- Tumor-related metabolic markers
Metabolomics technologies can be used in the early stages of tumorigenesis to monitor changes or fluctuations of metabolites in specific metabolic processes, to predict tumor progression, or to monitor tumor response to intervention.
The quantitative analysis of metabolomic technologies combined with advanced statistical analysis methods can yield a characteristic metabolic profile of early organ-specific changes. Molecular etiology of established tumors can be assessed by changes in specific metabolites, identifying metabolite changes in response to biological effects, and aiding in the characterization of tumor susceptibility. The discovery of biomarkers will make it possible to identify characteristic changes in tumor cell-specific damage, which may be used to develop characteristic intervention strategies for susceptible populations. Understanding the relationship between metabolite profiles and tumor growth, arrest, apoptosis, and differentiation will help to identify tumor-associated metabolic markers and thus improve the early diagnosis of tumors. For example, lipid and cholesterol profiles are markers of cell membrane disruption, and these changes often indicate that cells are undergoing a process of apoptosis stimulated by various factors. Similarly, the inhibitory effect of anticancer agents on tumor cell growth is reflected in changes in the metabolic pathways of glycans and amino acids.
- Metabolomics and tumor diagnosis
Tumors lead to pathophysiological changes in the body, and the metabolites of the body are also changed accordingly. Metabolomic analysis of these altered metabolites will enable a better understanding of the pathological process and the metabolic pathways of substances in the organism, leading to the identification of tumor-related biomarkers. Metabolomics has unique advantages in tumor diagnosis: 1. Only body fluids need to be collected, which is easy for clinical sampling and dynamic observation; 2. The production of cancer cells is closely related to the tumor host microenvironment, and the concentration of various amino acids, peptides, fatty acids, small molecule metabolites and cell division products necessary for cancer cell growth is much larger in tissue fluids than in cells.
Metabolomic analysis is also widely used in the differential diagnosis of tumors. Metabolomic techniques can predict the early tumor cell phenotypic changes, allowing the diagnosis to be made before the tumor cell phenotypic changes, i.e., when the metabolome of the tumor is slightly altered, thus to a large extent, new early diagnostic characteristics of metabolic small molecules can be identified as biomarkers for early tumor diagnosis.
- Metabolomics and tumor treatment and prognosis assessment
Metabolomics provides a systematic and holistic understanding of the metabolic profile of the body through the study of drug metabolism kinetics and changes in endogenous metabolites induced by drugs, allowing for more direct individualization of therapy to address tumor heterogeneity and patient differences, as well as guiding the dosage of antitumor drugs and evaluating therapeutic efficacy and safety.
Fig 1. Summary of the current state of the art in cancer metabolomics, future potentials for innovative opportunities, and challenges (Kumar et al., 2019).
Creative Proteomics is dedicated to the cutting-edge technology of metabolomics and aims to provide professional metabolomics services to help accelerate the process of tumor-related research.
- Kumar, A., & Misra, B. B. (2019). Challenges and opportunities in cancer metabolomics. Proteomics, 19(21-22), 1900042.
For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.