Adenocarcinoma, a type of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), is the most frequently diagnosed lung cancer and the leading cause of lung cancer mortality in the United States. It is well documented that biochemical changes occur early in the transition from normal to cancer cells, but the extent to which these alterations affect tumorigenesis in adenocarcinoma remains largely unknown. Herein we describe the application of mass spectrometry and multivariate statistical analysis in one of the largest biomarker research studies to date aimed at distinguishing metabolic differences between malignant and non-malignant lung tissue. Gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry was used to measure 462 metabolites in 39 malignant and non-malignant lung tissue pairs from current or former smokers with early stage (Stage IA-IB) adenocarcinoma. Statistical mixed effects models, orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis and network integration, were used to identify key cancer-associated metabolic perturbations in adenocarcinoma compared to non-malignant tissue. Cancer-associated biochemical alterations were characterized by: 1) decreased glucose levels, consistent with the Warburg effect, 2) changes in cellular redox status highlighted by elevations in cysteine and antioxidants, alpha- and gamma-tocopherol, 3) elevations in nucleotide metabolites 5,6-dihydrouracil and xanthine suggestive of increased dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase and xanthine oxidoreductase activity, 4) increased 5'-deoxy-5'-methylthioadenosine levels indicative of reduced purine salvage and increased de novo purine synthesis and 5) coordinated elevations in glutamate and UDP-N-acetylglucosamine suggesting increased protein glycosylation. The present study revealed distinct metabolic perturbations associated with early stage lung adenocarcinoma which may provide candidate molecular targets for personalizing therapeutic interventions and treatment efficacy monitoring.
- Received October 8, 2014.
- Revision received January 26, 2015.
- Accepted January 29, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.