Tissue amino acid profiles are characteristic of tumor type, malignant phenotype, and tumor progression in pancreatic tumors

Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 8;9(1):9816. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-46404-4.


Tissue amino acid profiles depend on the cell types and extracellular components that constitute the tissue, and their functions and activities. We aimed to characterize the tissue amino acid profiles in several types of pancreatic tumors and lesions. We examined tissue amino acid profiles in 311 patients with pancreatic tumors or lesions. We used newly developed LC-MS/MS methods to obtain the profiles, which were compared with clinicopathological data. Each tumor or lesion presented a characteristic tissue amino acid profile. Certain amino acids were markedly altered during the multistep pancreatic carcinogenesis and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) progression. A tissue amino acid index (TAAI) was developed based on the amino acids that were notably changed during both carcinogenesis and cancer progression. Univariate and multivariate survival analyses revealed that PDAC patients with a high TAAI exhibited a significantly shorter survival rate, and these findings were validated using a second cohort. We suggest that tissue amino acid profiles are characteristic for normal tissue type, tumor histological type, and pathological lesion, and are representative of the cancer grade or progression stage in multistep carcinogenesis and of malignant characteristics. The TAAI could serve as an independent prognosticator for patients with PDAC.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / analysis*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology*
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Phenotype
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Amino Acids