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      Metabolomic profiles delineate potential role for sarcosine in prostate cancer progression

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          Abstract

          Multiple, complex molecular events characterize cancer development and progression. Deciphering the molecular networks that distinguish organ-confined disease from metastatic disease may lead to the identification of critical biomarkers for cancer invasion and disease aggressiveness. Although gene and protein expression have been extensively profiled in human tumours, little is known about the global metabolomic alterations that characterize neoplastic progression. Using a combination of high-throughput liquid-and-gas-chromatography-based mass spectrometry, we profiled more than 1,126 metabolites across 262 clinical samples related to prostate cancer (42 tissues and 110 each of urine and plasma). These unbiased metabolomic profiles were able to distinguish benign prostate, clinically localized prostate cancer and metastatic disease. Sarcosine, an N-methyl derivative of the amino acid glycine, was identified as a differential metabolite that was highly increased during prostate cancer progression to metastasis and can be detected non-invasively in urine. Sarcosine levels were also increased in invasive prostate cancer cell lines relative to benign prostate epithelial cells. Knockdown of glycine-N-methyl transferase, the enzyme that generates sarcosine from glycine, attenuated prostate cancer invasion. Addition of exogenous sarcosine or knockdown of the enzyme that leads to sarcosine degradation, sarcosine dehydrogenase, induced an invasive phenotype in benign prostate epithelial cells. Androgen receptor and the ERG gene fusion product coordinately regulate components of the sarcosine pathway. Here, by profiling the metabolomic alterations of prostate cancer progression, we reveal sarcosine as a potentially important metabolic intermediary of cancer cell invasion and aggressivity.

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          Most cited references 9

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          Regulation of Cell Motility by Mitogen-activated Protein Kinase

          Cell interaction with adhesive proteins or growth factors in the extracellular matrix initiates Ras/ mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase signaling. Evidence is provided that MAP kinase (ERK1 and ERK2) influences the cells' motility machinery by phosphorylating and, thereby, enhancing myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) activity leading to phosphorylation of myosin light chains (MLC). Inhibition of MAP kinase activity causes decreased MLCK function, MLC phosphorylation, and cell migration on extracellular matrix proteins. In contrast, expression of mutationally active MAP kinase kinase causes activation of MAP kinase leading to phosphorylation of MLCK and MLC and enhanced cell migration. In vitro results support these findings since ERK-phosphorylated MLCK has an increased capacity to phosphorylate MLC and shows increased sensitivity to calmodulin. Thus, we define a signaling pathway directly downstream of MAP kinase, influencing cell migration on the extracellular matrix.
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            Analysis of the adult human plasma metabolome.

            It is well established that disease states are associated with biochemical changes (e.g., diabetes/glucose, cardiovascular disease/cholesterol), as are responses to chemical agents (e.g., medications, toxins, xenobiotics). Recently, nontargeted methods have been used to identify the small molecules (metabolites) in a biological sample to uncover many of the biochemical changes associated with a disease state or chemical response. Given that these experimental results may be influenced by the composition of the cohort, in the present study we assessed the effects of age, sex and race on the relative concentrations of small molecules (metabolites) in the blood of healthy adults. Using gas- and liquid-chromatography in combination with mass spectrometry, a nontargeted metabolomic analysis was performed on plasma collected from an age- and sex-balanced cohort of 269 individuals. Of the more than 300 unique compounds that were detected, significant changes in the relative concentration of more than 100 metabolites were associated with age. Many fewer differences were associated with sex and fewer still with race. Changes in protein, energy and lipid metabolism, as well as oxidative stress, were observed with increasing age. Tricarboxylic acid intermediates, creatine, essential and nonessential amino acids, urea, ornithine, polyamines and oxidative stress markers (e.g., oxoproline, hippurate) increased with age. Compounds related to lipid metabolism, including fatty acids, carnitine, beta-hydroxybutyrate and cholesterol, were lower in the blood of younger individuals. By contrast, relative concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (a proposed antiaging androgen) were lowest in the oldest age group. Certain xenobiotics (e.g., caffeine) were higher in older subjects, possibly reflecting decreases in hepatic cytochrome P450 activity. Our nontargeted analytical approach detected a large number of metabolites, including those that were found to be statistically altered with age, sex or race. Age-associated changes were more pronounced than those related to differences in sex or race in the population group we studied. Age, sex and race can be confounding factors when comparing different groups in clinical studies. Future studies to determine the influence of diet, lifestyle and medication are also warranted.
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              Molecular genetics of prostate cancer.

               C Shen,  M Shen (2000)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                February 2009
                February 1 2009
                February 2009
                : 457
                : 7231
                : 910-914
                Article
                10.1038/nature07762
                2724746
                19212411
                © 2009

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