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Mass Spectrometry–Based Metabolic Profiling Reveals Different Metabolite Patterns in Invasive Ovarian Carcinomas and Ovarian Borderline Tumors

By Carsten Denkert, Tobias Kind, Wilko Weichert, Peter Tablack, Jalid Sehouli, Silvia Niesporek, Dominique Könsgen, Manfred Dietel and Oliver Fiehn


Metabolites are the end products of cellular regulatory processes, and their levels can be regarded as the ultimate response of biological systems to genetic or environmental changes. We have used a metabolite profiling approach to test the hypothesis that quantitative signatures of primary metabolites can be used to characterize molecular changes in ovarian tumor tissues. Sixty-six invasive ovarian carcinomas and nine borderline tumors of the ovary were analyzed by gas chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC-TOF MS) using a novel contamination-free injector system. After automated mass spectral deconvolution, 291 metabolites were detected, of which 114 (39.1%) were annotated as known compounds. By t test statistics with P < 0.01, 51 metabolites were significantly different between borderline tumors and carcinomas, with a false discovery rate of 7.8%, estimated with repeated permutation analysis. Principal component analysis (PCA) revealed four principal components that were significantly different between both groups, with the highest significance found for the second component (P = 0.00000009). PCA as well as additional supervised predictive models allowed a separation of 88 % of the borderline tumors from the carcinomas. Our study shows for the first time that large-scale metabolic profiling using GC-TOF MS is suitable for analysis of fresh frozen human tumor samples, and that there is a consistent and significant change in primary metabolism of ovarian tumors, which can be detected using multivariate statistical approaches. We conclude that metabolomics is a promising high-throughput, automated approach in addition to functional genomics and proteomics for analyses of molecular changes in malignant tumors. (Cancer Res 2006; 66(22): 10795-804

Year: 2009
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