NMR-based Metabolomics Helps with Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

Posted on November 05, 2020


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For women, breast cancer remains atop the list of cancer-related deaths, even with the pace of early detection technology at its peak. However, metabolomics, a mainstay cancer research methodology since the early 2000s, may hold an informative bearing throughout cancer’s chronology. When coupled with other forms of molecular analysis and imaging, NMR-based metabolomics can betray key cancer-linked biomarkers, and unearth critical mechanistic molecular changes seen during cancer progression and treatment.

What’s Behind Metabolomics

An arm of omics (a holistic, global perspective on biology), metabolomics identifies and measures metabolites at high levels. Because of this, metabolomics carries a versatility across biomedical applications and imaging, useful along multiple points throughout a cancer’s timeline.

In some research veins, a standardized scheme, involving multiple diagnostic tools including metabolomics, actively allows for tagging and labeling of sets of protein subclasses, along with molecular metabolites.

Metabolomics and Breast Cancer

Some breast cancers issue metabolic characteristics, or profiles, which can indicate the prognosis or general outlook of the cancer’s progression. For instance, in research, lower-risk profiles carry a makeup of choline, alanine, and glycine.

However, across cases, distinct patterns emerge inside metabolic clusters, even though genetic subtypes remain uniformly distributed. Characteristics indicative can include heightened lactate, an upswing in choline metabolism, or a downturn in choline metabolism. These indicators go beyond prognosis detection: they also may be targeted for potential treatment avenues including the deployment of metabolic inhibitors for choline metabolism or activating lactate changeover via lactate dehydrogenase.

Further Findings

In addition to indicating general prognosis, metabolic profiling, in tandem with NMR and mass spectrometry, reveals changes as treatments (such as chemotherapy), are undertaken. It’s been documented that significant changes in metabolic profiles happen between day one and the sixth month mark for patients who receive chemotherapy.

For researchers, this proves overly informative: these changes reflect those related to immune response, inflammation, and an uptick in risk for cardiovascular disease. Radiation therapy may also play into metabolic profile makeup, as some measure of changes have been noticed in patients who did and did not receive chemotherapy.

What Metabolomics Means

With its extensive versatility across disciplines and across cancer’s timeline, metabolomics may be the newest game changer in cancer research. And that signals good news across the board. While metabolomic research is still in relative infancy for the field, the preliminary results show promise. Tightening up standardization and validation will be the next steps for this methodology as research marches on.

As metabolomics gains traction in research, it joins a trend already seen at Avanti: northbound research and development. Learn more about our products, contact us with questions about how we can move your R&D, and see what else is on the horizon for research. Source: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201030/High-Throughput-Identification-and-Quantification-of-Breast-Cancer-With-NMR-Based-Metabolomics.aspx