LC-MS-based Serum Metabolomic Analysis Reveals Dysregulation of Phosphatidylcholines in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

J Proteomics. 2015 Sep 8;127(Pt A):96-102. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2015.05.013. Epub 2015 May 14.


Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most aggressive cancers with poor prognosis. Here, we carried out liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-Q-TOF-MS)-based untargeted metabolomic analysis of ESCC serum samples. Statistical analysis resulted in the identification of 652 significantly dysregulated molecular features in serum from ESCC patients as compared to the healthy subjects. Phosphatidylcholines were identified as a major class of dysregulated metabolites in this study suggesting potential perturbation of phosphocholine metabolism in ESCC. By using a targeted MS/MS approach both in positive and negative mode, we were able to characterize and confirm the structure of seven metabolites. Our study describes a quantitative LC-MS approach for characterizing dysregulated lipid metabolism in ESCC.

Biological significance: Altered metabolism is a hallmark of cancer. We carried out (LC-MS)-based untargeted metabolomic profiling of serum from esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) patients to characterize dysregulated metabolites. Phosphatidylcholine metabolism was found to be significantly altered in ESCC. Our study illustrates the use of mass spectrometry-based metabolomic analysis to characterize molecular alterations associated with ESCC. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Proteomics in India.

Keywords: Cancer; Cholines; Lyso PCs; Metabolism; PCs; Serum metabolome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / blood*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metabolomics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphatidylcholines / blood*


  • Phosphatidylcholines