Metabolomic profiling of human urine in hepatocellular carcinoma patients using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry

Anal Chim Acta. 2009 Aug 19;648(1):98-104. doi: 10.1016/j.aca.2009.06.033. Epub 2009 Jun 21.


With the technique of metabolomics, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), urine or serum metabolites can be assayed to explore disease biomarkers. In this work, we present a metabolomic method to investigate the urinary metabolic difference between hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, n - 20) male patients and normal male subjects (n - 20). The urinary endogenous metabolome was assayed using chemical derivatization followed by GC/MS. After GC/MS analysis, 103 metabolites were detected, of which 66 were annotated as known compounds. By a two sample t-test statistics with p < 0.05, 18 metabolites were shown to be significantly different between the HCC and control groups. A diagnostic model was constructed with a combination of 18 marker metabolites or together with alphafetoprotein, using principal component analysis and receiver-operator characteristic curves. The multivariate statistics of the diagnostic model yielded a separation between the two groups with an area under the curve value of 0.9275. This non-invasive technique of identifying HCC biomarkers from urine may have clinical utility.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / urine*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / urine*
  • Male
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • ROC Curve


  • Alanine Transaminase