J Cancer 2015; 6(12):1276-1281. doi:10.7150/jca.12433

Research Paper

Serum Unsaturated Free Fatty Acids: A Potential Biomarker Panel for Differentiating Benign Thyroid Diseases from Thyroid Cancer

Yaping Zhang1, Ling Qiu2, Chengyan He3, Yanmin Wang4, Yujie liu1, Dan Zhang1, Zhili Li1,✉

1. Department of Biophysics and Structural Biology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & School of Basic Medicine, Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100005, PR China
2. Department of Clinical Laboratory, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100730, PR China
3. Clinical Lab Diagnosis, China-Japan Union Hospital, Jilin University, Changchun 130041, PR China
4. Department of Clinical Laboratory, Heze Municipal Hospital, Shandong 1740031, PR China

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Citation:
Zhang Y, Qiu L, He C, Wang Y, liu Y, Zhang D, Li Z. Serum Unsaturated Free Fatty Acids: A Potential Biomarker Panel for Differentiating Benign Thyroid Diseases from Thyroid Cancer. J Cancer 2015; 6(12):1276-1281. doi:10.7150/jca.12433. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v06p1276.htm

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Abstract

Background: Serum free fatty acids (FFAs) are correlated with pathological status, and change in serum FFA levels may be associated with thyroid diseases.

Materials and Methods: In this study, 664 serum samples from 322 healthy controls, 129 patients with benign thyroid disease (BTD), and 213 patients with thyroid cancer (TC) were collected. Chip-based direct-infusion nanoelectrospray-mass spectrometry was performed to simultaneously quantify six serum FFAs (i.e., C16:1, C18:1, C18:2, C18:3, C20:4, and C22:6.), with the excellent correlation coefficients of > 0.99 and relative standard deviation of <18% for all analysts. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare the differences in serum FFA levels between three above-mentioned groups.

Results: Significant increase in the levels of C16:1, C18:1, C18:2, C18:3, C20:4, and C22:6 in healthy controls relative to TC patients and BTD patients was observed, and the levels of C16:1, C18:2, C20:4, and C22:6 in BTD patients were significantly decreased relative to TC patients. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis indicated that a combination of C16:1, C18:2, C20:4, and C22:6 has excellent diagnostic performance to differentiate BTD patients from TC patients, with an area under the ROC curve of 0.857, a sensitivity of 76.8%, and a specificity of 83.7%.

Conclusions: Change in serum levels of FFAs is closely correlated with thyroid diseases, and a biomarker panel (C16:1, C18:2, C20:4, and C22:6) should be of benefit to differentiate BTD patients from TC patients.

Keywords: thyroid diseases, biomarker panel, unsaturated free fatty acids, serum.