bims-mascan Biomed News
on Mass spectrometry in cancer research
Issue of 2022‒08‒21
sixteen papers selected by
Giovanny Rodriguez Blanco
University of Edinburgh

  1. Proteomics. 2022 Aug 15. e2200238
      Tumor tissue processing methodologies in combination with data-independent acquisition mass spectrometry (DIA-MS) have emerged that can comprehensively analyze the proteome of multiple tumor samples accurately and reproducibly. Increasing recognition and adoption of these technologies has resulted in a tranche of studies providing novel insights into cancer classification systems, functional tumor biology, cancer biomarkers, treatment response and drug targets. Despite this, with some limited exceptions, MS-based proteomics has not yet been implemented in routine cancer clinical practice. Here, we summarize the use of DIA-MS in studies that may pave the way for future clinical cancer applications, and highlight the role of alternative MS technologies and multi-omic strategies. We discuss limitations and challenges of studies in this field to date and propose steps for integrating proteomic data into the cancer clinic. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  Biomarkers; cancer; data-independent acquisition mass spectrometry; personalized medicine; proteomics
  2. Nat Protoc. 2022 Aug 19.
      Identifying metabolites and delineating their immune-regulatory contribution in the tumor microenvironment is an area of intense study. Interrogating metabolites and metabolic networks among immune cell subsets and host cells from resected tissues and fluids of human patients presents a major challenge, owing to the specialized handling of samples for downstream metabolomics. To address this, we first outline the importance of collaborating with a biobank for coordinating and streamlining workflow for point of care, sample collection, processing and cryopreservation. After specimen collection, we describe our 60-min rapid bead-based cellular enrichment method that supports metabolite analysis between T cells and tumor cells by mass spectrometry. We also describe how the metabolic data can be complemented with metabolic profiling by flow cytometry. This protocol can serve as a foundation for interrogating the metabolism of cell subsets from primary human ovarian cancer.
  3. Cell Metab. 2022 Aug 11. pii: S1550-4131(22)00311-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      How environmental nutrient availability impacts T cell metabolism and function remains poorly understood. Here, we report that the presence of physiologic carbon sources (PCSs) in cell culture medium broadly impacts glucose utilization by CD8+ T cells, independent of transcriptional changes in metabolic reprogramming. The presence of PCSs reduced glucose contribution to the TCA cycle and increased effector function of CD8+ T cells, with lactate directly fueling the TCA cycle. In fact, CD8+ T cells responding to Listeria infection preferentially consumed lactate over glucose as a TCA cycle substrate in vitro, with lactate enhancing T cell bioenergetic and biosynthetic capacity. Inhibiting lactate-dependent metabolism in CD8+ T cells by silencing lactate dehydrogenase A (Ldha) impaired both T cell metabolic homeostasis and proliferative expansion in vivo. Together, our data indicate that carbon source availability shapes T cell glucose metabolism and identifies lactate as a bioenergetic and biosynthetic fuel for CD8+ effector T cells.
    Keywords:  (13)C tracing; T cells; TCA cycle; immunometabolism; lactate; metabolic programming; metabolomics
  4. Anal Chem. 2022 Aug 18.
      Elemental imaging is widely used for imaging cells and tissues but rarely in combination with organic mass spectrometry, which can be used to profile lipids and measure drug concentrations. Here, we demonstrate how elemental imaging and a new method for spatially resolved lipidomics (DAPNe-LC-MS, based on capillary microsampling and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry) can be used in combination to probe the relationship between metals, drugs, and lipids in discrete areas of tissues. This new method for spatial lipidomics, reported here for the first time, has been applied to rabbit lung tissues containing a lesion (caseous granuloma) caused by tuberculosis infection. We demonstrate how elemental imaging with spatially resolved lipidomics can be used to probe the association between ion accumulation and lipid profiles and verify local drug distribution.
  5. Cell Death Discov. 2022 Aug 13. 8(1): 357
      Proliferating cancer cells are dependent on glutamine metabolism for survival when challenged with oxidative stresses caused by reactive oxygen species, hypoxia, nutrient deprivation and matrix detachment. ATF4, a key stress responsive transcription factor, is essential for cancer cells to sustain glutamine metabolism when challenged with these various types of stress. While it is well documented how the ATF4 transcript is translated into protein as a stress response, an important question concerns how the ATF4 message levels are sustained to enable cancer cells to survive the challenges of nutrient deprivation and damaging reactive oxygen species. Here, we now identify the pathway in triple negative breast cancer cells that provides a sustained ATF4 response and enables their survival when encountering these challenges. This signaling pathway starts with mTORC2, which upon sensing cellular stresses arising from glutamine deprivation or an acute inhibition of glutamine metabolism, initiates a cascade of events that triggers an increase in ATF4 transcription. Surprisingly, this signaling pathway is not dependent on AKT activation, but rather requires the mTORC2 target, PKC, which activates the transcription factor Nrf2 that then induces ATF4 expression. Additionally, we identify a sirtuin family member, the NAD+-dependent de-succinylase Sirt5, as a key transcriptional target for ATF4 that promotes cancer cell survival during metabolic stress. Sirt5 plays fundamental roles in supporting cancer cell metabolism by regulating various enzymatic activities and by protecting an enzyme essential for glutaminolysis, glutaminase C (GAC), from degradation. We demonstrate that ectopic expression of Sirt5 compensates for knockdowns of ATF4 in cells exposed to glutamine deprivation-induced stress. These findings provide important new insights into the signaling cues that lead to sustained ATF4 expression as a general stress-induced regulator of glutamine metabolism, as well as highlight Sirt5 an essential effector of the ATF4 response to metabolic stress.
  6. Cell Rep. 2022 Aug 16. pii: S2211-1247(22)01015-4. [Epub ahead of print]40(7): 111198
      The relationship between nutrient starvation and mitochondrial dynamics is poorly understood. We find that cells facing amino acid starvation display clear mitochondrial fusion as a means to evade mitophagy. Surprisingly, further supplementation of glutamine (Q), leucine (L), and arginine (R) did not reverse, but produced stronger mitochondrial hyperfusion. Interestingly, the hyperfusion response to Q + L + R was dependent upon mitochondrial fusion proteins Mfn1 and Opa1 but was independent of MTORC1. Metabolite profiling indicates that Q + L + R addback replenishes amino acid and nucleotide pools. Inhibition of fumarate hydratase, glutaminolysis, or inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase all block Q + L + R-dependent mitochondrial hyperfusion, which suggests critical roles for the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and purine biosynthesis in this response. Metabolic tracer analyses further support the idea that supplemented Q promotes purine biosynthesis by serving as a donor of amine groups. We thus describe a metabolic mechanism for direct sensing of cellular amino acids to control mitochondrial fusion and cell fate.
    Keywords:  CP: Cell biology; CP: Metabolism; Drp1; Mfn1; Mfn2; Opa1; amino acid sensing; arginine; dynamics; fusion; glutamine; hyperfusion; leucine; mitochondria; stable isotope tracer
  7. Mol Cell. 2022 Aug 12. pii: S1097-2765(22)00703-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Proliferating cells exhibit a metabolic phenotype known as "aerobic glycolysis," which is characterized by an elevated rate of glucose fermentation to lactate irrespective of oxygen availability. Although several theories have been proposed, a rationalization for why proliferating cells seemingly waste glucose carbon by excreting it as lactate remains elusive. Using the NCI-60 cell lines, we determined that lactate excretion is strongly correlated with the activity of mitochondrial NADH shuttles, but not proliferation. Quantifying the fluxes of the malate-aspartate shuttle (MAS), the glycerol 3-phosphate shuttle (G3PS), and lactate dehydrogenase under various conditions demonstrated that proliferating cells primarily transform glucose to lactate when glycolysis outpaces the mitochondrial NADH shuttles. Increasing mitochondrial NADH shuttle fluxes decreased glucose fermentation but did not reduce the proliferation rate. Our results reveal that glucose fermentation, a hallmark of cancer, is a secondary consequence of MAS and G3PS saturation rather than a unique metabolic driver of cellular proliferation.
    Keywords:  NADH shuttles; aerobic glycolysis; cancer metabolism; glycerol 3-phosphate shuttle; isotope-tracer analysis; malate-aspartate shuttle; metabolic flux; metabolomics; the Warburg effect
  8. Front Oncol. 2022 ;12 941618
      Ferroptosis refers to iron-dependent, specialized, and regulated-necrosis mediated by lipid peroxidation, which is closely related to a variety of diseases, including cancer. Tumor cells undergo extensive changes in lipid metabolism, including lipid peroxidation and ferroptosis. Changes in lipid metabolism are critical for the regulation of ferroptosis and thus have important roles in cancer therapy. In this review, we introduce the characteristics of ferroptosis and briefly analyze the links between several metabolic mechanisms and ferroptosis. The effects of lipid peroxides, several signaling pathways, and the molecules and pathways involved in lipid metabolism on ferroptosis were extensively analyzed. Finally, our review highlights some ferroptosis-based treatments and presents some methods and examples of how these treatments can be combined with other treatments.
    Keywords:  ferroptosis; lipid metabolism; lipid peroxidation; tumor; tumor therapy
  9. Nat Chem Biol. 2022 Aug 15.
      Ethanol and lactate are typical waste products of glucose fermentation. In mammals, glucose is catabolized by glycolysis into circulating lactate, which is broadly used throughout the body as a carbohydrate fuel. Individual cells can both uptake and excrete lactate, uncoupling glycolysis from glucose oxidation. Here we show that similar uncoupling occurs in budding yeast batch cultures of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Issatchenkia orientalis. Even in fermenting S. cerevisiae that is net releasing ethanol, media 13C-ethanol rapidly enters and is oxidized to acetaldehyde and acetyl-CoA. This is evident in exogenous ethanol being a major source of both cytosolic and mitochondrial acetyl units. 2H-tracing reveals that ethanol is also a major source of both NADH and NADPH high-energy electrons, and this role is augmented under oxidative stress conditions. Thus, uncoupling of glycolysis from the oxidation of glucose-derived carbon via rapidly reversible reactions is a conserved feature of eukaryotic metabolism.
  10. Prostate. 2022 Aug 18.
      BACKGROUND: Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) has been the standard of care for advanced hormone-sensitive prostate cancer (PC), yet tumors invariably develop resistance resulting in castrate-resistant PC. The acute response of cancer cells to ADT includes apoptosis and cell death, but a large fraction remains arrested but viable. In this study, we focused on intensively characterizing the early metabolic changes that result after ADT to define potential metabolic targets for treatment.METHODS: A combination of mass spectrometry, optical metabolic imaging which noninvasively measures drug responses in cells, oxygen consumption rate, and protein expression analysis was used to characterize and block metabolic pathways over several days in multiple PC cell lines with variable hormone response status including ADT sensitive lines LNCaP and VCaP, and resistant C4-2 and DU145.
    RESULTS: Mass spectrometry analysis of LNCaP pre- and postexposure to ADT revealed an abundance of glycolytic intermediates after ADT. In LNCaP and VCaP, a reduction in the optical redox ratio [NAD(P)H/FAD], extracellular acidification rate, and a downregulation of key regulatory enzymes for fatty acid and glutamine utilization was acutely observed after ADT. Screening several metabolic inhibitors revealed that blocking fatty acid oxidation and synthesis reversed this stress response in the optical redox ratio seen with ADT alone in LNCaP and VCaP. In contrast, both cell lines demonstrated increased sensitivity to the glycolytic inhibitor 2-Deoxy- d-glucose(2-DG) and maintained sensitivity to electron transport chain inhibitor Malonate after ADT exposure. ADT followed by 2-DG results in synergistic cell death, a result not seen with simultaneous administration.
    CONCLUSIONS: Hormone-sensitive PC cells displayed altered metabolic profiles early after ADT including an overall depression in energy metabolism, induction of a quiescent/senescent phenotype, and sensitivity to selected metabolic inhibitors. Glycolytic blocking agents (e.g., 2-DG) as a sequential treatment after ADT may be promising.
    Keywords:  androgen deprivation therapy; mass spectrometry; metabolism; optical metabolic imaging; prostate cancer
  11. Blood. 2022 Aug 19. pii: blood.2022017575. [Epub ahead of print]
      Targeting altered tumor cell metabolism might provide an attractive opportunity for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). An amino acid dropout screen on primary leukemic stem cells and progenitor populations revealed a number of amino acid dependencies, of which methionine was one of the strongest. By using various metabolite rescue experiments, NMR-based metabolite quantifications and 13C-tracing, polysomal profiling, and ChIP-seq, we identified that methionine is used predominantly for protein translation and to provide methyl groups to histones via S-adenosylmethionine for epigenetic marking. H3K36me3 was consistently the most heavily impacted mark following loss of methionine. Methionine depletion also reduced total RNA levels, enhanced apoptosis and induced a cell cycle block. ROS levels were not increased following methionine depletion and replacement of methionine with glutathione or N-acetylcysteine could not rescue phenotypes, excluding a role for methionine in controlling redox balance control in AML. Although considered to be an essential amino acid, methionine can be recycled from homocysteine. We uncovered that this is primarily performed by the enzyme methionine synthase and only when methionine availability becomes limiting. In vivo, dietary methionine starvation was not only tolerated by mice, but also significantly delayed both cell line and patient-derived AML progression. Finally, we show that inhibition of the H3K36-specific methyltransferase SETD2 phenocopies much of the cytotoxic effects of methionine depletion, providing a more targeted therapeutic approach. In conclusion, we show that methionine depletion is a vulnerability in AML that can be exploited therapeutically, and we provide mechanistic insight into how cells metabolize and recycle methionine.
  12. Cell Rep. 2022 Aug 16. pii: S2211-1247(22)01050-6. [Epub ahead of print]40(7): 111233
      5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is a key component of chemotherapy for colorectal cancer (CRC). 5-FU efficacy is established by intracellular levels of folate cofactors and DNA damage repair strategies. However, drug resistance still represents a major challenge. Here, we report that alterations in serine metabolism affect 5-FU sensitivity in in vitro and in vivo CRC models. In particular, 5-FU-resistant CRC cells display a strong serine dependency achieved either by upregulating endogenous serine synthesis or increasing exogenous serine uptake. Importantly, regardless of the serine feeder strategy, serine hydroxymethyltransferase-2 (SHMT2)-driven compartmentalization of one-carbon metabolism inside the mitochondria represents a specific adaptation of resistant cells to support purine biosynthesis and potentiate DNA damage response. Interfering with serine availability or affecting its mitochondrial metabolism revert 5-FU resistance. These data disclose a relevant mechanism of mitochondrial serine use supporting 5-FU resistance in CRC and provide perspectives for therapeutic approaches.
    Keywords:  5-FU resistance; CP: Cancer; DNA damage response; Serine metabolism; colorectal cancer; mitochondrial metabolism; nucleotide metabolism; one-carbon metabolism (OCM)
  13. Anal Chem. 2022 Aug 17.
      The application of rapid and accurate diagnostic methods can improve colorectal cancer (CRC) survival rates dramatically. Here, we used a non-targeted metabolic analysis strategy based on internal extractive electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (iEESI-MS) to detect metabolite ions associated with the progression of CRC from 172 tissues (45 stage I/II CRC, 41 stage III/IV CRC, and 86 well-matched normal tissues). A support vector machine (SVM) model based on 10 differential metabolite ions for differentiating early-stage CRC from normal tissues was built with a good prediction accuracy of 92.6%. The biomarker panel consisting of lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) (18:0) has good diagnostic potential in differentiating early-stage CRC from advanced-stage CRC. We showed that the down-regulation of LPC (18:0) in tumor tissues is associated with CRC progression and related to the regulation of the epidermal growth factor receptor. Pathway analysis showed that metabolic pathways in CRC are related to glycerophospholipid metabolism and purine metabolism. In conclusion, we built an SVM model with good performance to distinguish between early-stage CRC and normal groups based on iEESI-MS and found that LPC (18:0) is associated with the progression of CRC.
  14. bioRxiv. 2022 Aug 02. pii: 2022.08.02.501850. [Epub ahead of print]
      Targeted quantification of proteins is a standard methodology with broad utility, but targeted quantification of glycoproteins has not reached its full potential. The lack of optimized workflows and isotopically labeled standards limits the acceptance of glycoproteomics quantification. In this paper, we introduce an efficient and streamlined chemoenzymatic synthesis of a library of isotopically labeled glycopeptides of IgG1 which we use for quantification in an energy optimized LC-MS/MS-PRM workflow. Incorporation of the stable isotope labeled N-acetylglucosamine enables an efficient monitoring of all major fragment ions of the glycopeptides generated under the soft collision induced dissociation (CID) conditions which reduces the CVs of the quantification to 0.7-2.8%. Our results document, for the first time, that the workflow using a combination of stable isotope labeled standards with intra-scan normalization enables quantification of the glycopeptides by an electron transfer dissociation (ETD) workflow as well as the CID workflow with the highest sensitivity compared to traditional workflows., This was exemplified by a rapid quantification (13-minute) of IgG1 Fc glycoforms from COVID-19 patients.Graphic Abstract:
  15. Am J Cancer Res. 2022 ;12(7): 3405-3421
      Cancer cells modulate their metabolic activities to adapt to their growth and proliferation. Despite advances in breast cancer biology having led to the widespread use of molecular targeted therapy and hormonal drugs, the molecular mechanisms in metabolism related to the regulation of breast cancer cell proliferation are still poorly understood. Here, we investigate the possible role of SHMT2, a key enzyme in serine metabolism, in breast cancer. Firstly, SHMT2 is found highly expressed in both breast cancer cells and tissues, and patients with high expression of SHMT2 have a worse prognosis. Moreover, the intervention of SHMT2 by either knockdown or over-expression in vitro induces the effect on breast cancer proliferation. Mechanistically, RNA-seq shows that over-expression of SHMT2 affect multiple signaling pathways and biological process in breast cancer cells. Furthermore, we confirm that SHMT2 promotes breast cancer cell growth through MAPK and VEGF signaling pathways. Finally, we verify the role of SHMT2 in promoting breast cancer growth in the xenograft tumor model. Our results indicate that SHMT2 plays a critical role in regulating breast cancer growth through MAPK, and VEGF signaling pathways, and maybe serve as a therapeutic target for breast cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  MAPK; SHMT2; VEGF; breast cancer; serine/glycine metabolism
  16. Cancer Metab. 2022 Aug 17. 10(1): 13
      BACKGROUND: Breast cancer (BC) is the most commonly diagnosed cancer. Currently, mammography and breast ultrasonography are the main clinical screening methods for BC. Our study aimed to reveal the specific metabolic profiles of BC patients and explore the specific metabolic signatures in human plasma for BC diagnosis.METHODS: This study enrolled 216 participants, including BC patients, benign patients, and healthy controls (HC) and formed two cohorts, one training cohort and one testing cohort. Plasma samples were collected from each participant and subjected to perform nontargeted metabolomics and proteomics. The metabolic signatures for BC diagnosis were identified through machine learning.
    RESULTS: Metabolomics analysis revealed that BC patients showed a significant change of metabolic profiles compared to HC individuals. The alanine, aspartate and glutamate pathways, glutamine and glutamate metabolic pathways, and arginine biosynthesis pathways were the critical biological metabolic pathways in BC. Proteomics identified 29 upregulated and 2 downregulated proteins in BC. Our integrative analysis found that aspartate aminotransferase (GOT1), L-lactate dehydrogenase B chain (LDHB), glutathione synthetase (GSS), and glutathione peroxidase 3 (GPX3) were closely involved in these metabolic pathways. Support vector machine (SVM) demonstrated a predictive model with 47 metabolites, and this model achieved a high accuracy in BC prediction (AUC = 1). Besides, this panel of metabolites also showed a fairly high predictive power in the testing cohort between BC vs HC (AUC = 0.794), and benign vs HC (AUC = 0.879).
    CONCLUSIONS: This study uncovered specific changes in the metabolic and proteomic profiling of breast cancer patients and identified a panel of 47 plasma metabolites, including sphingomyelins, glutamate, and cysteine could be potential diagnostic biomarkers for breast cancer.
    Keywords:  Breast neoplasms; Machine learning; Metabolomics; Plasma; Proteomics