Combatting Tumor Metabolites with Chemical Derivatization-Based Chromatography


Tumors can harm the human metabolic system in several ways. To better understand how this can be prevented, a group of scientists from Hangzhou Normal University in China, whose work was published in the Journal of Chromatography A, investigated a new means of measuring aberrant metabolites (1).

Tumor | Image Credit: © Juan Gärtner -

Tumor | Image Credit: © Juan Gärtner -

Tumor cells rely on metabolic reprogramming, which involves several processes such as fatty acids syntheses and glutaminlysis, to reduce stress necessary for survival. This has led into extensive research into metabolic reprogramming and the creation of various treatments. Common techniques, such as liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC–MS) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS), have been ineffective in this process due to strong polarities, isomerism, or low ionization efficiencies during MS detection. However, chemical derivatization of metabolites may prove to be a more effective method for metabolic reprogramming.

Epoxydocosapentaenoic acids (EDPs) derived from omega-3 fatty acids can slow down blood vessel creation and endothelial cells’ movements, while phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH) was discovered to impede the production of nucleotides from glycolytic serine, a critical source of single carbons in breast cancer. These metabolic vulnerabilities can pave the way for more effective means of combatting tumor cells by helping identify them quicker.

Chemical derivatization is a promising field, and there seems to be more room to grow with how these techniques can be used. In the future, these methods may be able to impact how medical professionals can detect and combat tumor growth can change and grow to be more effective than previously thought.


(1) Advancements in Analyzing Tumor Metabolites through Chemical Derivatization-Based Chromatography. J. Chromatogr. A. 2023, 1706, 464236. DOI:

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