Despite advances in surgery and adjuvant therapy, brain tumors represent one of the leading causes of cancer-related mortality and morbidity in both adults and children. Gliomas constitute about 60% of all cerebral tumors, showing varying degrees of malignancy. They are difficult to treat due to dismal prognosis and limited therapeutics. Metabolomics is the untargeted and targeted analyses of endogenous and exogenous small molecules, which charact erizes the phenotype of an individual. This emerging "omics" science provides functional readouts of cellular activity that contribute greatly to the understanding of cancer biology including brain tumor biology. Metabolites are highly informative as a direct signature of biochemical activity; therefore, metabolite profiling has become a promising approach for clinical diagnostics and prognostics. The metabolic alterations are well-recognized as one of the key hallmarks in monitoring disease progression, therapy, and revealing new molecular targets for effective therapeutic intervention. Taking advantage of the latest high-throughput analytical technologies, that is, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and mass spectrometry (MS), metabolomics is now a promising field for precision medicine and drug discovery. In the present report, we review the application of metabolomics and in vivo metabolic profiling in the context of adult gliomas and paediatric brain tumors. Analytical platforms such as high-resolution (HR) NMR, in vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging and high- and low-resolution MS are discussed. Moreover, the relevance of metabolic studies in the development of new therapeutic strategies for treatment of gliomas are reviewed.
Keywords: adult glioblastoma; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; mass spectrometry; metabolomics; paediatric glioblastoma.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.