Metabolomic estimation of the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma based on ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometry†
Metabolomics has been shown to be an effective tool for biomarker screening and pathway characterization and disease diagnosis. Metabolic characteristics of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) may enable the discovery of novel biomarkers for its diagnosis. In this work, metabolomics was used to investigate metabolic alterations of HCC patients. Plasma samples from HCC patients and age-matched healthy controls were investigated using high resolution ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and metabolic differences were analyzed using pattern recognition methods. 23 distinguishable metabolites were identified. The altered metabolic pathways were associated with arginine and proline metabolism, glycine, serine and threonine metabolism, steroid hormone biosynthesis, starch and sucrose metabolism, etc. To demonstrate the utility of plasma biomarkers for the diagnosis of HCC, five metabolites comprising deoxycholic acid 3-glucuronide, 6-hydroxymelatonin glucuronide, 4-methoxycinnamic acid, 11b-hydroxyprogesterone and 4-hydroxyretinoic acid were selected as candidate biomarkers. These metabolites that contributed to the combined model could significantly increase the diagnostic performance of HCC. It has proved to be a powerful tool in the discovery of new biomarkers for disease detection and suggest that panels of metabolites may be valuable to translate our findings to clinically useful diagnostic tests.