Because colorectal cancer (CRC) remains a leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide, more accessible screening tests are urgently needed to identify early stage lesions. We hypothesized that highly sensitive, metabolic profile analysis of stool samples will identify metabolites associated with early stage lesions and could serve as a noninvasive screening test. We therefore applied traveling wave ion mobility mass spectrometry (TWIMMS) coupled with ultraperformance liquid chromatography (UPLC) to investigate metabolic aberrations in stool samples in a transgenic model of premalignant polyposis aberrantly expressing the gene encoding the high mobility group A (Hmga1) chromatin remodeling protein. Here, we report for the first time that the fecal metabolome of Hmga1 mice is distinct from that of control mice and includes metabolites previously identified in human CRC. Significant alterations were observed in fatty acid metabolites and metabolites associated with bile acids (hypoxanthine xanthine, taurine) in Hmga1 mice compared to controls. Surprisingly, a marked increase in the levels of distinctive short, arginine-enriched, tetra-peptide fragments was observed in the transgenic mice. Together these findings suggest that specific metabolites are associated with Hmga1-induced polyposis and abnormal proliferation in intestinal epithelium. Although further studies are needed, these data provide a compelling rationale to develop fecal metabolomic analysis as a noninvasive screening tool to detect early precursor lesions to CRC in humans.
- cancer metabolomics
- cancer screening
- colorectal cancer
- high mobility group A1 (HMGA1) chromatin remodeling protein
- ion mobility mass spectrometry
ASJC Scopus subject areas