Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Metabolomics of Apc Min/+ mice genetically susceptible to intestinal cancer

Jean-Eudes J Dazard16*, Yana Sandlers23, Stephanie K Doerner4, Nathan A Berger456 and Henri Brunengraber26*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Proteomics and Bioinformatics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA

2 Department of Nutrition, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA

3 Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MA 21205, USA

4 Department of Genetics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA

5 Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA

6 Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA

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BMC Systems Biology 2014, 8:72  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-8-72

Published: 23 June 2014



To determine how diets high in saturated fat could increase polyp formation in the mouse model of intestinal neoplasia, ApcMin/+, we conducted large-scale metabolome analysis and association study of colon and small intestine polyp formation from plasma and liver samples of ApcMin/+ vs. wild-type littermates, kept on low vs. high-fat diet. Label-free mass spectrometry was used to quantify untargeted plasma and acyl-CoA liver compounds, respectively. Differences in contrasts of interest were analyzed statistically by unsupervised and supervised modeling approaches, namely Principal Component Analysis and Linear Model of analysis of variance. Correlation between plasma metabolite concentrations and polyp numbers was analyzed with a zero-inflated Generalized Linear Model.


Plasma metabolome in parallel to promotion of tumor development comprises a clearly distinct profile in ApcMin/+ mice vs. wild type littermates, which is further altered by high-fat diet. Further, functional metabolomics pathway and network analyses in ApcMin/+ mice on high-fat diet revealed associations between polyp formation and plasma metabolic compounds including those involved in amino-acids metabolism as well as nicotinamide and hippuric acid metabolic pathways. Finally, we also show changes in liver acyl-CoA profiles, which may result from a combination of ApcMin/+-mediated tumor progression and high fat diet. The biological significance of these findings is discussed in the context of intestinal cancer progression.


These studies show that high-throughput metabolomics combined with appropriate statistical modeling and large scale functional approaches can be used to monitor and infer changes and interactions in the metabolome and genome of the host under controlled experimental conditions. Further these studies demonstrate the impact of diet on metabolic pathways and its relation to intestinal cancer progression. Based on our results, metabolic signatures and metabolic pathways of polyposis and intestinal carcinoma have been identified, which may serve as useful targets for the development of therapeutic interventions.

Metabolomics; Fat diet; Tumor development; Association and correlation analysis; High-throughput mass spectrometry