In vitro studies can help reveal the biochemical pathways underlying the origin of volatile indicators of numerous diseases. The key objective of this study is to identify the potential biomarkers of gastric cancer. For this purpose, the volatilomic signatures of two human gastric cancer cell lines, AGS (human gastric adenocarcinoma) and SNU-1 (human gastric carcinoma), and one normal gastric mucosa cell line (GES-1) were investigated. More specifically, gas chromatography mass spectrometry has been applied to pinpoint changes in cell metabolism triggered by cancer. In total, ten volatiles were found to be metabolized, and thirty-five were produced by cells under study. The volatiles consumed were mainly six aldehydes and two heterocyclics, whereas the volatiles released embraced twelve ketones, eight alcohols, six hydrocarbons, three esters, three ethers, and three aromatic compounds. The SNU-1 cell line was found to have significantly altered metabolism in comparison to normal GES-1 cells. This was manifested by the decreased production of alcohols and ketones and the upregulated emission of esters. The AGS cells exhibited the increased production of methyl ketones containing an odd number of carbons, namely 2-tridecanone, 2-pentadecanone, and 2-heptadecanone. This study provides evidence that the cancer state modifies the volatilome of human cells.
Keywords: AGS; GC-MS; GES-1; SNU-1; chemical footprint; gastric cancer; volatile organic compounds; volatilome.