The distinctive serum metabolomes of gastric, esophageal and colorectal cancers

Zhenxing Ren, Cynthia Rajan*, Wei Jia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Three of the most lethal cancers in the world are the gastrointestinal cancers—gastric (GC), esophageal (EC) and colorectal cancer (CRC)—which are ranked as third, sixth and fourth in cancer deaths globally. Early detection of these cancers is difficult, and a quest is currently on to find noninvasive screening tests to detect these cancers. The reprogramming of energy metabolism is a hallmark of cancer, notably, an increased dependence on aerobic glycolysis which is often referred to as the Warburg effect. This metabolic change results in a unique metabolic profile that distinguishes cancer cells from normal cells. Serum metabolomics analyses allow one to measure the end products of both host and microbiota metabolism present at the time of sample collection. It is a non-invasive procedure requiring only blood collection which encourages greater patient compliance to have more frequent screenings for cancer. In the following review we will examine some of the most current serum metabolomics studies in order to compare their results and test a hypothesis that different tumors, notably, from EC, GC and CRC, have distinguishing serum metabolite profiles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number720
Number of pages22
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

User-Defined Keywords

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Gastric cancer
  • Metabolome
  • Metabolomics
  • Warburg effect


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