Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry analysis of lysophospholipids in human ascitic fluids: comparison of the lysophospholipid contents in malignant vs nonmalignant ascitic fluids

Anal Biochem. 2001 Mar;290(2):302-13. doi: 10.1006/abio.2001.5000.


Lysophospholipids (lyso-PLs), including various glycerol-based and sphingosine-based lysophospholipids, play important roles in many biochemical, physiological, and pathological processes. The classical methods to analyze these lipids involve gas chromatography and/or high-performance liquid chromatography, which are time-consuming, cumbersome, and sometimes inaccurate due to the incomplete separation of closely related lipid species. We now describe the quantitative analysis of lyso-PLs in ascites samples from patients with ovarian cancer using electrospray ionization spectrometry. Three new classes of lyso-PL molecules are detected: alkyl-LPA, alkenyl-LPA, and methylated lysophosphatidylethanolamine. Importantly, the following lysophospholipid species are significantly increased in ascites from patients with ovarian cancer, compared to patients with nonmalignant diseases (e.g., liver failure): LPA (including acyl-, alkyl-, and alkenyl-LPA species), lysophosphatidylinositol, and sphingosylphosphorylcholine. Lysophosphorylcholine contents are also significantly different among ascitic fluids from the two groups of patients. However, the total phosphate content in ascites samples from patients with ovarian cancer is not significantly different compared to that from patients with nonmalignant disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ascites / metabolism
  • Ascitic Fluid / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids / analysis
  • Lysophospholipids / analysis*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization / methods*
  • Water / analysis


  • Lipids
  • Lysophospholipids
  • Water