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Diseases 2015, 3(3), 167-175; doi:10.3390/diseases3030167

Metabolomic Approaches in Cancer Epidemiology

1
Methods and Technologies Branch, Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Suite 4E102, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
2
Department of Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Elizabeth City State University, Campus Box 930, 1704 Weeksville Road, Elizabeth City, NC 27909, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Liang Zhao
Received: 19 June 2015 / Revised: 30 July 2015 / Accepted: 31 July 2015 / Published: 11 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Applications of Metabolomics in Human Diseases)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [668 KB, uploaded 11 August 2015]

Abstract

Metabolomics is the study of low molecular weight molecules or metabolites produced within cells and biological systems. It involves technologies such as mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) that can measure hundreds of thousands of unique chemical entities (UCEs). The metabolome provides one of the most accurate reflections of cellular activity at the functional level and can be leveraged to discern mechanistic information during normal and disease states. The advantages of metabolomics over other “omics” include its high sensitivity and ability to enable the analysis of relatively few metabolites compared with the number of genes and messenger RNAs (mRNAs). In clinical samples, metabolites are more stable than proteins or RNA. In fact, metabolomic profiling in basic, epidemiologic, clinical, and translational studies has revealed potential new biomarkers of disease and therapeutic outcome and has led to a novel mechanistic understanding of pathogenesis. These potential biomarkers include novel metabolites associated with cancer initiation, regression, and recurrence. Unlike genomics or even proteomics, however, the degree of metabolite complexity and heterogeneity within biological systems presents unique challenges that require specialized skills and resources to overcome. This article discusses epidemiologic studies of altered metabolite profiles in several cancers as well as challenges in the field and potential approaches to overcoming them. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomarker; cohort; epidemiology; metabolomics biomarker; cohort; epidemiology; metabolomics
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Verma, M.; Banerjee, H.N. Metabolomic Approaches in Cancer Epidemiology. Diseases 2015, 3, 167-175.

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