Investigation of Tumor Metabolism by High-resolution Magic-angle Spinning (HR-MAS) Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS)
Altered metabolism is now considered an emerging hallmark of cancer. The rapid proliferation rate of cancer cells is associated with a specific metabolic demand; the need to convert nutrients into biomass while maintaining energy production. Abnormal metabolism in cancer is increasingly recognized as a potential target for treatment in itself, but also as a source for novel biomarkers that can be used in diagnosis. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is one of several techniques that can be used for studies of cancer metabolism. Although MRS has limited analytical sensitivity, it is possible to assay a relatively large number of metabolites simultaneously, and the method is by nature quantitative. In cancer research, high-resolution magic-angle spinning (HR-MAS) MRS has become a popular tool as it allows analysis of intact tissue specimens with a spectral resolution similar to what can be achieved in cell extracts. HR-MAS MRS is highly suited for studies of cancer metabolomics in large patient cohorts as the need for sample preparation is limited and the tissue specimens are available for follow-up studies after the MRS analysis. In this chapter, we describe the current experience with use of HR-MAS MRS in studies of cancer metabolomics.