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Lu Haitao’s Team Published Collaborative Findings in Pharmacological Research

May 02, 2020      Author: Lu Haitao

Recently, Lu Haitao’s team from SJTU and Wang Huaizhi’s team from affiliated hospital of UCAS jointly published the latest research findings titled “Metabolomics identified new biomarkers for the precise diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and associated tissue metastasis” in Pharmacological Research online, a top-notch journal under Elsevier.

SJTU is the first corresponding unit. Lu Haitao from SJTU and Wang Huaizhi, professor of UCAS, are the co-corresponding authors. Luo Xialin, the doctoral student of Shanghai Center for systems biomedicine, SJTU, is the first author, and Liu Jingjing, the postgraduate student of SJTU, is the co-author. This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2017YFC1308600 and 2017YFC1308605), the National Natural Science Foundation of China Grants (No. 31670031) and the Startup Funding for Specialized Professorship Provided by Shanghai Jiao Tong University (No. WF220441502).


Pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the most aggressive malignancies with high mortality due to a complex and latent pathogenesis leading to the severe lack of early diagnosis methods. To improve clinical diagnosis and enhance therapeutic outcome, we employed the newly developed precision-targeted metabolomics method to identify and validate metabolite biomarkers from the plasma samples of patients with pancreatic cancer that can sensitively and efficiently diagnose the onsite progression of the disease. Many differential metabolites have the capacity to markedly distinguish patients with pancreatic cancer (n = 60) from healthy controls (n = 60). To further enhance the specificity and selectivity of metabolite biomarkers, a dozen tumor tissues from PC patients and paired normal tissues were used to clinically validate the biomarker performance. We eventually verified five new metabolite biomarkers in plasma (creatine, inosine, beta-sitosterol, sphinganine and glycocholic acid), which can be used to readily diagnose pancreatic cancer in a clinical setting. Excitingly, we proposed a panel biomarker by integrating these five individual metabolites into one pattern, demonstrating much higher accuracy and specificity to precisely diagnose pancreatic cancer than conventional biomarkers (CA125, CA19-9, CA242 and CEA); moreover, this plasma panel biomarker used for PC diagnosis is also quite convenient to implement in clinical practice. Using the same metabolomics method, we characterized succinic acid and gluconic acid as having a great capability to monitor the progression and metastasis of pancreatic cancer at different stages. Taken together, this metabolomics method was used to identify and validate metabolite biomarkers that can precisely and sensitively diagnose the onsite progression and metastasis of pancreatic cancer in a clinical setting. Furthermore, such effort should leave clinicians with the correct time frame to facilitate early and efficient therapeutic interventions, which could largely improve the five-year survival rate of PC patients by significantly lowering clinical mortality.