D'Apolito, Oceania and Garofalo, Daniela and Gelzo, Monica and Paris, Debora and Melck, Dominique and Calemma, Rosa and Izzo, Francesco and Palmieri, Giuseppe and Castello, Giuseppe and Motta, Andrea and Corso, Gaetano (2014) Basic amino acids and dimethylarginines targeted metabolomics discriminates primary hepatocarcinoma from hepatic colorectal metastases. Metabolomics, Vol. 10 (5), p. 1026-1035. ISSN 1573-3882. eISSN 1573-3890. Article.
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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a very aggressive neoplasia requiring early and accurate diagnosis to improve patient outcomes with timely treatment. The liver is also very frequently colonized by metastases, and the most frequent differential diagnosis is HCC against intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma or metastatic adenocarcinoma. Metabolomics is a powerful tool for identification of altered biomarkers in cancer, and to evaluate the efficacy of drug treatments. Here we analyzed by HILIC-MS/MS methylated arginines, basic amino acids (Arg, Cit, Orn), and their ratios in the extracts of primary HCC tissues, liver metastases from colorectal carcinoma (MET), cirrhotic related hepatitis-C-virus (CIR), and non-cirrhotic normal liver (NT) adjacent tissues. We found high levels of Arg (p < 0.0001) and Arg/Orn (p < 0.01) in MET compared to other tissues. In MET, compared to NT and CIR, Arg concentration was fivefold higher, while in HCC it was twofold higher. ADMA increased twofold compared to NT and CIR, while in HCC it was 50 % higher. Arg/Cit and ADMA/SDMA ratios were significantly higher in MET compared to NT and CIR (p < 0.005). Arg/Orn, Arg/Cit, and ADMA/SDMA ratios increased progressively from NT, CIR, HCC, to MET tissues. Arg/Cit correlated significantly with Arg/Orn ratios (r = 0.77; p < 0.0001), and discriminates tumor from non-tumor samples. In addition, the discriminant lactate/glucose ratio we previously found by NMR, also correlated significantly with the Arg levels (r = 0.64; p < 0.0001), and discriminated MET from all other tissues. The results indicated that Arg in MET is higher than other tissue classes, suggesting that, together with the lactate/glucose ratio, it can be considered a further biomarker for HCC-metastases differentiation.
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