Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Metabolomics & Lipidomics
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Metabolic 'Fingerprinting' of Tumours Could Help Bowel Cancer Patients

Published: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Bookmark and Share
New research makes it possible to see how advanced a bowel cancer is by looking at its metabolic 'fingerprint.'

Bowel cancer is the third most common type of cancer globally, with over one million new cases diagnosed every year. Accurately determining the stage that a tumour has reached is crucial for deciding which treatments to offer.

Metabolic fingerprinting looks at the levels of many different metabolites, which are the products of chemical reactions in the body’s cells, in a sample of blood, urine or tissue. This mix of metabolites alters as cancer develops and grows. The researchers behind the new study, from Imperial College London, suggest that doctors could use metabolic fingerprinting alongside existing imaging technology to give them the most accurate possible analysis of a tumour. The work is published in the journal  Annals of Surgery.

Doctors currently use a combination of CT, MRI and ultrasound scanning to evaluate how advanced a tumour is, but as these scans rely on visual estimations of a tumour’s size and location, they are not always sufficiently sensitive or specific. Previous studies have shown that these techniques regularly suggest that a tumour is more advanced, or less advanced, than it really is.

Dr Reza Mirnezami, the lead author of the study from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London, said: “Working out the stage of a tumour is critical for planning a patient’s treatment. Increasingly, before we surgically remove a tumour, we will give therapies to try and shrink it down, but the kinds of therapies we offer depend on our assessment of how advanced that tumour is. The more accurate we can be, the better the patient’s chances of survival.

“Our research suggests that using metabolic fingerprinting techniques in addition to scanning could give us the clearest possible picture of how the cancer is progressing.”

For the new study, researchers analysed the metabolic fingerprint of 44 bowel tumour tissue samples, provided by patients at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, using high-resolution magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (HR-MAS NMR). Their results were as accurate at determining the stage that the cancer had reached as existing radiological methods.

Professor Lord Ara Darzi, the Paul Hamlyn Chair of Surgery at Imperial, and senior author of the study, said: “We know that even with the impressive scanning technology we have available at the moment, it’s not always possible to correctly ascertain the local stage of a cancer. Our study suggests that used alongside medical imaging, metabolic fingerprinting could enable us to gain more accurate information. This would give us greater certainty about the right course of treatment to give to patients, sparing some patients from invasive treatment where they don’t need it.”

The research also suggests that tumours take on unique metabolic properties as they become more advanced, opening up new avenues for treatment. The researchers hope that ultimately, it may be possible to take out different metabolic targets when the cancer is at different stages, in order to disable or slow down the tumour.

Professor Jeremy Nicholson, Head of the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial and corresponding author for the study, said: “This study represents one part of our program of advanced technology development to improve patient safety in the surgical environment and shows the huge potential of using metabolic models to stratify patients and optimise therapy.”

The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Imperial Biomedical Research Centre.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Urine Profiles Provide Clues To How Obesity Causes Disease
Scientists have identified chemical markers in urine associated with body mass, providing insights into how obesity causes disease.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Light-activated Drug Could Reduce Side Effects of Diabetes Medication
Scientists have created a drug for type 2 diabetes that is switched on by blue light, which they hope will improve treatment of the disease.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
New Laboratory Aims to Revolutionise Surgery with Real-Time Metabolic Profiling
Metabolic profiling of tissue samples could transform the way surgeons make decisions in the operating theatre, say researchers at a new laboratory being launched today.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Some Morbidly Obese People are Missing Genes, Shows New Research
According to the new findings, around seven in every thousand morbidly obese people are missing a part of their DNA.
Friday, February 05, 2010
Heart Rhythm Gene Revealed in new Research
Discovery could help scientists design more targeted drugs to prevent and treat certain heart problems.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Research Reveals Exactly How Coughing is Triggered by Environmental Irritants
Scientists identify the reaction inside the lungs that can trigger coughing when a person is exposed to particular irritants in the air.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Ironing Out the Genetic Cause of Hemoglobin Problems
A gene with a significant effect on regulating hemoglobin in the body has been identified as part of a genome-wide association study.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Scientists Discover new Genetic Variation that Contributes to Diabetes
Study identifies a genetic variation in people with type 2 diabetes that affects how the body's muscle cells respond to the hormone insulin.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Think Zinc: Molecular Sensor Could Reveal Zinc's Role in Diseases
Scientists develop a new molecular sensor to analyze the amount of zinc in cells.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Urine Samples could be Used to Predict Responses to Drugs, Say Researchers
Researchers show possibility to predict how different individuals would deal with one drug by looking at metabolites in their urine.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Glutamic Acid Linked to Lower Blood Pressure
The new research suggests that glutamic acid may be one of the components of vegetable protein linked to lower blood pressure.
Monday, July 06, 2009
On-the-spot DNA Analysis to Test Tolerance to Prescription Drugs Gets Closer
A handheld device to predict whether patients will respond adversely to medication is one step closer to the market.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Childhood Obesity Risk Increased 50 Percent by new Genetic Mutations, Says Study
Three new genetic mutations that together can increase a very young child's risk of becoming obese by 50 percent are revealed in a new study.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Common Mutations Linked to Common Obesity in Europeans
Scientists have discovered two common genetic mutations in people of European ancestry, which affect the production of several hormones controlling our appetite.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Causes of Disease Can Be Revealed By Metabolic Fingerprinting, According to 'Metabolome-Wide' Study
Your metabolic 'fingerprint' can reveal much about the possible causes of major diseases, according to the study published in the journal Nature.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Scientific News
New Treatment for Obesity Developed
Researchers at the University of Liverpool, working with a global healthcare company, have helped develop a new treatment for obesity.
How Cell Growth Triggers Cell Division
Researchers in Jan Skotheim's lab have discovered a previously unknown mechanism that controls how large cells grow, an insight that could one day provide insight into attacking diseases such as cancer.
Metabolomic Platform Reveals Fundamental Flaw in Common Lab Technology
A new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) shows that a technology used in thousands of laboratories, called gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), fundamentally alters the samples it analyzes.
Newly Identified Biochemical Pathway Could Be Target for Insulin Control
Researchers at Duke Medicine and the University of Alberta are reporting the identification of a new biochemical pathway to control insulin secretion from islet beta cells in the pancreas, establishing a potential target for insulin control.
Dirty,Crusty Meals Fit for (Long-Dormant) Microbes
Researchers apply the latest analytical techniques to further our understanding of desert biocrusts.
CSI -- On The Metabolite's Trail
Bioinformaticians at the University of Jena make the most efficient search engine for molecular structures available online.
Developing a Breathalyzer-Type Low Blood Sugar Warning Device For Diabetes
A multidisciplinary team of researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has been awarded a $738,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop a breathalyzer-type device to detect the onset of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar episodes, in people with diabetes.
Identifying The 'Dimmer Switch' Of Diabetes
University of Alberta research gives new insight into what causes Type 2 diabetes.
10 to 1: Bugs Win in NASA study
Bugs are winning out, and that's a good thing according to NASA's Human Research Program.
MYC Oncogene Disrupts Cancers Rhythm
Findings inform time-dependent treatment for reducing side effects and increasing effectiveness of cancer medications.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos