Growth of Malignant Non-CNS Tumors Alters Brain Metabolome

Front Genet. 2018 Feb 20:9:41. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2018.00041. eCollection 2018.


Cancer survivors experience numerous treatment side effects that negatively affect their quality of life. Cognitive side effects are especially insidious, as they affect memory, cognition, and learning. Neurocognitive deficits occur prior to cancer treatment, arising even before cancer diagnosis, and we refer to them as "tumor brain." Metabolomics is a new area of research that focuses on metabolome profiles and provides important mechanistic insights into various human diseases, including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and aging. Many neurological diseases and conditions affect metabolic processes in the brain. However, the tumor brain metabolome has never been analyzed. In our study we used direct flow injection/mass spectrometry (DI-MS) analysis to establish the effects of the growth of lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and sarcoma on the brain metabolome of TumorGraft™ mice. We found that the growth of malignant non-CNS tumors impacted metabolic processes in the brain, affecting protein biosynthesis, and amino acid and sphingolipid metabolism. The observed metabolic changes were similar to those reported for neurodegenerative diseases and brain aging, and may have potential mechanistic value for future analysis of the tumor brain phenomenon.

Keywords: animal models; brain aging; metabolomics/metabolite profiling; non-CNS tumors; tumor brain.