Analytical metabolomics-based approaches to pancreatic cancer

Iole Maria Di Gangi, Urska Vrhovsek, Valerio Pazienza, Fulvio Mattivi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We provide a comprehensive review of the analytical technologies applied in pancreatic cancer (PC) research, investigating tumor-associated metabolites identified as possible new biomarkers for screening the population at risk and for potential early tumor diagnosis. We briefly introduce PC tumorigenesis, risk factors and some of the benefits of studying changes to the metabolome associated with PC. We focus on the different matrices used in the studies and sample preparation for the analytical methods applied to PC specimens. We then delineate the advantages and the disadvantages of each analytical platform, pointing out the importance of extraction techniques in metabolomics approaches employed in PC research. We cover a number of case studies, and then review identified metabolites associated with PC. In the final section, we discuss possible approaches to understanding the link between metabolic profile and the onset of PC, which may provide insights into the physiopathological mechanisms involved in PC pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-116
Number of pages23
JournalTrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • Analytical method
  • Biomarker
  • Extraction
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Metabolic profile
  • Metabolomics
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pathogenesis
  • Physiopathology
  • Sample preparation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Environmental Chemistry


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