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New metabolic alterations and predictive marker pipecolic acid in sera for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

By Lei Liu, Jia Wu, Minxin Shi, Fengying Wang, Haimin Lu, Jibing Liu, Weiqin Chen, Guanzhen Yu, Dan Liu, Jing Yang, Qin Luo, Yan Ni, Xing Jin, XiaoXia Jin, Wen-Lian Chen

Posted 01 Apr 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.03.31.437882

Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is a major histological subtype of esophageal cancer with dismal prognosis. Although several serum metabolomic investigations have been reported, ESCC tumor-associated metabolic alterations along with predictive biomarkers in sera were not defined. Here we enrolled 34 treatment-naive ESCC patients and collected their pre- and post-esophagectomy sera together with sera from 34 healthy volunteers for metabolomic survey. Our comprehensive analysis discerned ESCC tumor-associated metabolic alterations as represented by a panel of 12 serum metabolites. Notably, postoperative abrosia and parenteral nutrition significantly perturbed the serum metabolome. Furthermore, we performed examination using sera from carcinogen-induced mice at dysplasia and ESCC stages, and identified three ESCC tumor-associated metabolites conserved between mice and humans. Notably, among these metabolites, pipecolic acid was progressively increased in mouse sera from dysplasia to cancerization, and it could accurately discriminate between mice at dysplasia stage and healthy control mice. Furthermore, this metabolite was essential for ECSS cells to oppose oxidative stress-induced DNA damage and cell proliferation arrest. Together, this study uncovered 12 ESCC tumor-associated serum metabolites with potential for monitoring therapeutic efficacy and disease relapse, presented evidence for refining parenteral nutrition composition, and highlighted serum pipecolic acid as an attractive biomarker for prediction of ESCC tumorigenesis.

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