Urinary Metabolic Biomarkers in Cancer Patients: An Overview

Methods Mol Biol. 2021:2292:203-212. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-1354-2_18.


The pathogenesis of cancer involves multiple molecular alterations at the level of genome, epigenome, and stromal environment, resulting in several deregulated signal transduction pathways. Metabolites are not only end products of gene and protein expression but also a consequence of the mutual relationship between the genome and the internal environment. Considering that metabolites serve as a comprehensive chemical fingerprint of cell metabolism, metabolomics is emerging as the method able to discover metabolite biomarkers that can be developed for early cancer detection, prognosis, and response to treatment. Urine represents a noninvasive source, available and rich in metabolites, useful for cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment monitoring. In this chapter, we reported the main published evidences on urinary metabolic biomarkers in the studied cancers related to hepatopancreatic and urinary tract with the aim at discussing their promising role in clinical practice.

Keywords: Cancer biomarkers; Diagnosis; Metabolic pathways; Prognosis; Urinary metabolomics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / urine
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / urine
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways*
  • Metabolome
  • Metabolomics / methods
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / urine*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / urine
  • Prognosis
  • Urologic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Urologic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Urologic Neoplasms / urine


  • Biomarkers, Tumor