Identification of potential biomarkers for ovarian cancer by urinary metabolomic profiling

J Proteome Res. 2013 Jan 4;12(1):505-12. doi: 10.1021/pr3009572. Epub 2012 Dec 3.


To evaluate the application of urinary metabolomics on discovering potential biomarkers for epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), urine samples from 40 preoperative EOC patients, 62 benign ovarian tumor (BOT) patients, and 54 healthy controls were collected and analyzed with ultraperformance liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-QTOF/MS). Good separations were obtained for EOC vs BOT, EOC vs healthy controls analyzed by partial least-squares discriminant analysis, or principal component analysis. Twenty-two ascertained metabolomic biomarkers were found to be disturbed in several metabolic pathways among EOC patients, including nucleotide metabolism (pseudouridine, N4-acetylcytidine), histidine metabolism (L-histidine, imidazol-5-yl-pyruvate), tryptophan metabolism (3-indolelactic acid), and mucin metabolism (3'-sialyllactose and 3-sialyl-N-acetyllactosamine). In addition, the concentrations of some urinary metabolites of 18 postoperative EOC patients among the 40 EOC patients changed significantly compared with those of their preoperative condition, and four of them suggested recovery tendency toward normal level after surgical operation, including N4-acetylcytidine, pseudouridine, urate-3-ribonucleoside, and succinic acid. These metabolites would be highly postulated to be associated with EOC. In conclusion, our study demonstrated that urinary metabolomics analysis by UPLC-QTOF/MS, performed in a minimally noninvasive and convenient manner, possessed great potential in biomarker discovery for EOC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / urine*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metabolomics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / urine*
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Urinalysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor