J Cancer 2018; 9(24):4696-4705. doi:10.7150/jca.27329

Research Paper

Revealing Different Lung Metastatic Potentials Induced Metabolic Alterations of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells via Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

Yang Chen1,2,✉, Donghong Lin1, Zhong Chen2, Jianghua Feng2, Naishun Liao3

1. Department of Laboratory Medicine, Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, China
2. Department of Electronic Science, Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Plasma and Magnetic Resonance, Xiamen University, Xiamen, China
3. The United Innovation of Mengchao Hepatobiliary Technology Key Laboratory of Fujian Province, Mengchao Hepatobiliary Hospital of Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, China

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Chen Y, Lin D, Chen Z, Feng J, Liao N. Revealing Different Lung Metastatic Potentials Induced Metabolic Alterations of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells via Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. J Cancer 2018; 9(24):4696-4705. doi:10.7150/jca.27329. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v09p4696.htm

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Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) causes death mainly by disseminated metastasis progression and major challenge of clinical management is to distinguish lethal metastatic stage from indolent stage. It is shown that metastatic progression is closely related to cellular metabolism. But detailed metabolic alterations and molecular mechanisms still kept unclear between subtypes of different lung metastatic potentials.

Methods: The current work used NMR-based metabolomics in the study of HCC cells with high malignancy but differed in lung metastatic potentials. Cell extracts and cultured media from MHCC97L and MHCC97H were utilized to reveal metabolic alterations related to metastatic potentials. Multivariate analyses were performed to identify characteristic metabolites which were used subsequently to draw the map of relative biochemical pathways by combining KEGG database.

Results: The NMR spectra of both MHCC97L and MHCC97H include various signals from necessary nutritional components and metabolic intermediates. A series of characteristic metabolites were determined from both cell extracts and media. The ability on nutrient uptake varied from cell lines. Most of amino acids decreased in high metastatic cell line, so altered amino acid metabolisms and energy metabolism were revealed in high metastatic MHCC97H cell line. The majority pathways involved six essential amino acids in which the observed branched-chain amino acids together with lysine contributed to biosynthesis or degradation. Basically MHCC97H cell line could induce more active events than that of MHCC97L to progress to high metastasis with certain molecular events. Characteristic metabolites-derived classifiers performed robustly during prediction and confirmed their critical role in supporting metastasis progression.

Conclusions: Our results provide evidence that NMR-metabolomics analyses of cells are able to understand metastatic characteristics accountable for biological properties. The proposed characteristic metabolites will help to understand HCC metastatic characterizations and may be filtered as potential biomarkers.

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, metastatic potential, metabolic profiling, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, cell, pathway analysis