Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy-based Metabolomic Biomarkers for Typing, Staging, and Survival Estimation of Early-Stage Human Lung Cancer

Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 16;9(1):10319. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-46643-5.


Low-dose CT has shown promise in detecting early stage lung cancer. However, concerns about the adverse health effects of radiation and high cost prevent its use as a population-wide screening tool. Effective and feasible screening methods to triage suspicious patients to CT are needed. We investigated human lung cancer metabolomics from 93 paired tissue-serum samples with magnetic resonance spectroscopy and identified tissue and serum metabolomic markers that can differentiate cancer types and stages. Most interestingly, we identified serum metabolomic profiles that can predict patient overall survival for all cases (p = 0.0076), and more importantly for Stage I cases alone (n = 58, p = 0.0100), a prediction which is significant for treatment strategies but currently cannot be achieved by any clinical method. Prolonged survival is associated with relative overexpression of glutamine, valine, and glycine, and relative suppression of glutamate and lipids in serum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Female
  • Glutamine / blood
  • Glycine / blood
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods
  • Male
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Survival Analysis
  • Valine / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • Glutamine
  • Valine
  • Glycine