Fingerprinting Breast Cancer vs. Normal Mammary Cells by Mass Spectrometric Analysis of Volatiles
Jingjing He, P. M-L Sinues, M. Hollmén, Xue Li, M. Detmar & R. Zenobi
There is increasing interest in the development of noninvasive diagnostic methods for early cancer detection, to improve the survival rate and quality of life of cancer patients. Identification of volatile metabolic compounds may provide an approach for noninvasive early diagnosis of malignant diseases.
Here we analyzed the volatile metabolic signature of human breast cancer cell lines versus normal human mammary cells. Volatile compounds in the headspace of conditioned culture medium were directly fingerprinted by secondary electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry. The mass spectra were subsequently treated statistically to identify discriminating features between normal vs. cancerous cell types. We were able to classify different samples by using feature selection followed by principal component analysis (PCA).
Additionally, high-resolution mass spectrometry allowed us to propose their chemical structures for some of the most discriminating molecules. We conclude that cancerous cells can release a characteristic odor whose constituents may be used as disease markers.