Lowered circulating aspartate is a metabolic feature of human breast cancer

Guoxiang Xie, Bingsen Zhou, Aihua Zhao, Yunping Qiu, Xueqing Zhao, Lana Garmire, Yurii B. Shvetsov, Herbert Yu, Yun Yen, Wei Jia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Distinct metabolic transformation is essential for cancer cells to sustain a high rate of proliferation and resist cell death signals. Such a metabolic transformation results in unique cellular metabolic phenotypes that are often reflected by distinct metabolite signatures in tumor tissues as well as circulating blood. Using a metabolomics platform, we find that breast cancer is associated with significantly (p = 6.27E-13) lowered plasma aspartate levels in a training group comprising 35 breast cancer patients and 35 controls. The result was validated with 103 plasma samples and 183 serum samples of two groups of primary breast cancer patients. Such a lowered aspartate level is specific to breast cancer as it has shown 0% sensitivity in serum from gastric (n = 114) and colorectal (n = 101) cancer patients. There was a significantly higher level of aspartate in breast cancer tissues (n = 20) than in adjacent non-tumor tissues, and in MCF-7 breast cancer cell line than in MCF-10A cell lines, suggesting that the depleted level of aspartate in blood of breast cancer patients is due to increased tumor aspartate utilization. Together, these findings suggest that lowed circulating aspartate is a key metabolic feature of human breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33369-33381
Number of pages13
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Aspartate
  • Breast cancer
  • Diagnosis
  • Metabolomics
  • Multivariate analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Lowered circulating aspartate is a metabolic feature of human breast cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this