Research Article: Differences in lipidomics may be potential biomarkers for early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer1

Date Published: July 06, 2020

Publisher: Sociedade Brasileira para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Cirurgia

Author(s): Dehua Zhou, Di Mu, Ming Cheng, Yuting Dou, Xianwei Zhang, Zhensheng Feng, Guangting Qiu, Hua Yu, Yang Chen, Hong Xu, Jian Sun, Ling Zhou.


To analyze the plasma lipid spectrum between healthy control and patients with pancreatic cancer and to select differentially expressed tumor markers for early diagnosis.

In total, 20 patents were divided into case group and healthy control group according to surgical pathology. Of almost 1206 plasma lipid molecules harvested from 20 patients were measured by HILIC using the normal phase LC/MS. Heat map presented the relative levels of metabolites and lipids in the healthy control group and patients with pancreatic cancer. The PCA model was constructed to find out the difference in lipid metabolites. The principal components were drawn in a score plot and any clustering tendency could be observed. PLS-DA were performed to distinguish the healthy control group and pancreatic cancer according to the identified lipid profiling datasets. The volcano plot was used to visualize all variables with VIP>1 and presented the important variables with P<0.01 and |FC|>2.

The upregulated lipid metabolites in patients with pancreatic cancer contained 9 lipids; however, the downregulated lipid metabolites contained 79 lipids.

There were lipid metabolomic differences in patients with pancreatic cancer, which could serve as potential tumor markers for pancreatic cancer.

Partial Text

Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease with a rising incidence, and it will become the second leading cause of tumor-related death in some areas. There were an estimated 55,400 new cases of pancreatic cancer in the United States in 2018, with 44,330 deaths1. Pancreatic cancer had a low 5-year survival rate (8%) in solid tumors mainly because of the difficulty in early diagnosis. Radical resection was the first choice for pancreatic cancer; however, most patients had already advanced tumors when they were first diagnosed2,3. Only 15-20% of patients with pancreatic cancer were eligible for radical surgical resection, so the core task of improving the surgical resectability of pancreatic cancer was to diagnose it earlier4.

A case-control study that included 20 patients admitted into the Department of General Surgery, Shanghai Fourth People’s Hospital was conducted during November 2018 to December 2018. The protocol of this study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Shanghai Fourth People’s Hospital Affiliated to Tongji University School of Medicine (No.2019057-001). Written informed consent was obtained from each participant.

Pancreatic cancer is regarded as the most common and lethal disease of the digestive tract tumors. Altered metabolism and tumor microenvironment are considered as the Hallmarks of cancer13. Given the above considerations, deep thinking about metabolic dysregulation in patients with pancreatic cancer could be a novel discovery of tumor therapeutic targets14. It has been widely certified that detection of a metabolic profile in serum by mass spectrometry-based techniques was a feasible and sensitive tool to improve early diagnosis rate of malignant diseases, such as gastroenterological cancers15. Recently, metabolomics has been reported in many studies as an effective tool for the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer16-23. In our study, we used liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to analyze the difference of lipidomics for healthy control group and patients with pancreatic cancer, and then provided a novel method to describe the lipidomic characteristics of pancreatic cancer.

There were lipid metabolomic differences in patients with pancreatic cancer, which could serve as potential tumor markers for pancreatic cancer.




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