Metabolomics of small intestine neuroendocrine tumors and related hepatic metastases
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To assess the metabolomic fingerprint of small intestine neuroendocrine tumors (SI-NETs) and related hepatic metastases, and to investigate the influence of the hepatic environment on SI-NETs metabolome. Ninety-four tissue samples, including 46 SI-NETs, 18 hepatic NET metastases and 30 normal SI and liver samples, were analyzed using 1H-magic angle spinning (HRMAS) NMR nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Twenty-seven metabolites were identified and quantified. Differences between primary NETs vs. normal SI and primary NETs vs. hepatic metastases, were assessed. Network analysis was performed according to several clinical and pathological features. Succinate, glutathion, taurine, myoinositol and glycerophosphocholine characterized NETs. Normal SI specimens showed higher levels of alanine, creatine, ethanolamine and aspartate. PLS-DA revealed a continuum-like distribution among normal SI, G1-SI-NETs and G2-SI-NETs. The G2-SI-NET distribution was closer and clearly separated from normal SI tissue. Lower concentration of glucose, serine and glycine, and increased levels of choline-containing compounds, taurine, lactate and alanine, were found in SI-NETs with more aggressive tumors. Higher abundance of acetate, succinate, choline, phosphocholine, taurine, lactate and aspartate discriminated liver metastases from normal hepatic parenchyma. Higher levels of alanine, ethanolamine, glycerophosphocholine and glucose was found in hepatic metastases than in primary SI-NETs. The present work gives for the first time a snapshot of the metabolomic characteristics of SI-NETs, suggesting the existence of complex metabolic reality, maybe characteristic of different tumor evolution.