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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5469597, 9 pages
Research Article

Metabolic Perturbation and Potential Markers in Patients with Esophageal Cancer

1Department of Gastroenterology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 300 Guangzhou Road, Nanjing 210029, China
2Department of Gastroenterology, Wuxi People’s Hospital Affiliated to Nanjing Medical University, 299 Qingyang Road, Wuxi 214023, China
3Department of Gastroenterology, The First People’s Hospital of Lianyungang, 182 North Tongguan Road, Lianyungang 222002, China
4Lab of Metabolomics, Key Laboratory of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, China Pharmaceutical University, 24 Tongjia Avenue, Gulou District, Nanjing 210009, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Jiye Aa and Lianzhen Yu

Received 21 July 2016; Accepted 5 January 2017; Published 20 April 2017

Academic Editor: Tetsuro Setoyama

Copyright © 2017 Xianlan Zhu et al. 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.


Clinical diagnosis of esophageal cancer (EC) at early stage is rather difficult. This study aimed to profile the molecules in serum and tissue and identify potential biomarkers in patients with EC. A total of 64 volunteers were recruited, and 83 samples (24 EC serum samples, 21 serum controls, 19 paired EC tissues, and corresponding tumor-adjacent tissues) were analyzed. The gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC/TOF-MS) was employed, and principal component analysis was used to reveal the discriminatory metabolites and identify the candidate markers of EC. A total of 41 in serum and 36 identified compounds in tissues were relevant to the malignant prognosis. A marked metabolic reprogramming of EC was observed, including enhanced anaerobic glycolysis and glutaminolysis, inhibited tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and altered lipid metabolism and amino acid turnover. Based on the potential markers of glucose, glutamic acid, lactic acid, and cholesterol, the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves indicated good diagnosis and prognosis of EC. EC patients showed distinct reprogrammed metabolism involved in glycolysis, TCA cycle, glutaminolysis, and fatty acid metabolism. The pivotal molecules in the metabolic pathways were suggested as the potential markers to facilitate the early diagnosis of human EC.