The Metabolomic Approach for the Screening of Endometrial Cancer: Validation from a Large Cohort of Women Scheduled for Gynecological Surgery

Biomolecules. 2022 Sep 2;12(9):1229. doi: 10.3390/biom12091229.


Endometrial cancer (EC) is the most common gynecological neoplasm in high-income countries. Five-year survival rates are related to stage at diagnosis, but currently, no validated screening tests are available in clinical practice. The metabolome offers an unprecedented overview of the molecules underlying EC. In this study, we aimed to validate a metabolomics signature as a screening test for EC on a large study population of symptomatic women. Serum samples collected from women scheduled for gynecological surgery (n = 691) were separated into training (n = 90), test (n = 38), and validation (n = 563) sets. The training set was used to train seven classification models. The best classification performance during the training phase was the PLS-DA model (96% accuracy). The subsequent screening test was based on an ensemble machine learning algorithm that summed all the voting results of the seven classification models, statistically weighted by each models' classification accuracy and confidence. The efficiency and accuracy of these models were evaluated using serum samples taken from 871 women who underwent endometrial biopsies. The EC serum metabolomes were characterized by lower levels of serine, glutamic acid, phenylalanine, and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate. Our results illustrate that the serum metabolome can be an inexpensive, non-invasive, and accurate EC screening test.

Keywords: endometrial cancer; ensemble machine learning; metabolomics; oncological screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Endometrial Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Endometrial Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Female
  • Glutamic Acid*
  • Glyceraldehyde 3-Phosphate
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures
  • Humans
  • Phenylalanine
  • Serine


  • Glyceraldehyde 3-Phosphate
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Serine
  • Phenylalanine

Grants and funding

This project was funded by POR Campania FESR 2014/2020—Project “Campania Oncoterapie” grant no. B61G18000470007.