Serum metabolite profiling of human colorectal cancer using GC-TOFMS and UPLC-QTOFMS

J Proteome Res. 2009 Oct;8(10):4844-50. doi: 10.1021/pr9004162.


Colorectal carcinogenesis involves the overexpression of many immediate-early response genes associated with growth and inflammation, which significantly alters downstream protein synthesis and small-molecule metabolite production. We have performed a serum metabolic analysis to test the hypothesis that the distinct metabolite profiles of malignant tumors are reflected in biofluids. In this study, we have analyzed the serum metabolites from 64 colorectal cancer (CRC) patients and 65 healthy controls using gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC-TOFMS) and Acquity ultraperformance liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (Acquity UPLC-QTOFMS). Orthogonal partial least-squares discriminate analysis (OPLS-DA) models generated from GC-TOFMS and UPLC-QTOFMS metabolic profile data showed robust discrimination from CRC patients and healthy controls. A total of 33 differential metabolites were identified using these two analytical platforms, five of which were detected in both instruments. These metabolites potentially reveal perturbation of glycolysis, arginine and proline metabolism, fatty acid metabolism and oleamide metabolism, associated with CRC morbidity. These results suggest that serum metabolic profiling has great potential in detecting CRC and helping to understand its underlying mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / blood*
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Metabolome*
  • Middle Aged
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Urea / metabolism


  • Amino Acids
  • Urea