Copyright ©The Author(s) 2020. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. May 28, 2020; 26(20): 2514-2532
Published online May 28, 2020. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v26.i20.2514
Metabolomics profile in gastrointestinal cancers: Update and future perspectives
Giulia Nannini, Gaia Meoni, Amedeo Amedei, Leonardo Tenori
Giulia Nannini, Amedeo Amedei, Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Florence, Florence 50134, Italy
Gaia Meoni, Giotto Biotech Srl, and CERM (University of Florence), Florence 50019, Italy
Amedeo Amedei, SOD of Interdisciplinary Internal Medicine, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Careggi, Florence 50134, Italy
Leonardo Tenori, Consorzio Interuniversitario Risonanze Magnetiche di Metalloproteine, Florence 50019, Italy
Author contributions: Nannini G and Meoni G were equal contribution to paper writing. Nannini G was involved in the conceptualization, investigation, writing, editing, visualization; Meoni G was involved in the conceptualization, investigation, writing, editing, visualization; Tenori L was involved in writing, review, supervision; Amedei A was involved in writing, review, supervision, funding acquisition. All authors have read and approve the final manuscript.
Supported by Foundation “Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze”, No. FCR 2017; and Italian Ministry of Health, Ricerca Finalizzata 2016, No. FR-2016-02361616.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Amedeo Amedei, BSc, Associate Professor, Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Florence, Largo Brambilla 3, Florence 50134, Italy.
Received: January 30, 2020
Peer-review started: January 30, 2020
First decision: April 18, 2020
Revised: May 11, 2020
Accepted: May 15, 2020
Article in press: May 15, 2020
Published online: May 28, 2020

Despite recent progress in diagnosis and therapy, gastrointestinal (GI) cancers remain one of the most important causes of death with a poor prognosis due to late diagnosis. Serum tumor markers and detection of occult blood in the stool are the current tests used in the clinic of GI cancers; however, these tests are not useful as diagnostic screening since they have low specificity and low sensitivity. Considering that one of the hallmarks of cancer is dysregulated metabolism and metabolomics is an optimal approach to illustrate the metabolic mechanisms that belong to living systems, is now clear that this -omics could open a new way to study cancer. In the last years, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) metabolomics has demonstrated to be an optimal approach for diseases' diagnosis nevertheless a few studies focus on the NMR capability to find new biomarkers for early diagnosis of GI cancers. For these reasons in this review, we will give an update on the status of NMR metabolomic studies for the diagnosis and development of GI cancers using biological fluids.

Keywords: Metabolomics, Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Pancreatic cancer, Gastric cancer, Colorectal cancer, Biological fluids

Core tip: Searching for new tumor biomarkers is essential for the early diagnosis of gastrointestinal tumors. Biofluids could give important data, reducing the need for invasive screening and nuclear magnetic resonance-based metabolomics is an optimal approach to understand metabolic dynamics in biofluids.