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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 721213, 9 pages
Review Article

Bioactive Food Components and Cancer-Specific Metabonomic Profiles

Nutritional Science Research Group, Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

Received 16 June 2010; Revised 29 September 2010; Accepted 5 October 2010

Academic Editor: Olav Kvalheim

Copyright © 2011 Young S. Kim and John A. Milner. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cancer cells possess unique metabolic signatures compared to normal cells, including shifts in aerobic glycolysis, glutaminolysis, and de novo biosynthesis of macromolecules. Targeting these changes with agents (drugs and dietary components) has been employed as strategies to reduce the complications associated with tumorigenesis. This paper highlights the ability of several food components to suppress tumor-specific metabolic pathways, including increased expression of glucose transporters, oncogenic tyrosine kinase, tumor-specific M2-type pyruvate kinase, and fatty acid synthase, and the detection of such effects using various metabonomic technologies, including liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) and stable isotope-labeled MS. Stable isotope-mediated tracing technologies offer exciting opportunities for defining specific target(s) for food components. Exposures, especially during the early transition phase from normal to cancer, are critical for the translation of knowledge about food components into effective prevention strategies. Although appropriate dietary exposures needed to alter cellular metabolism remain inconsistent and/or ill-defined, validated metabonomic biomarkers for dietary components hold promise for establishing effective strategies for cancer prevention.