Urine metabolite profiling offers potential early diagnosis of oral cancer

Guo X. Xie, Tian L. Chen, Yun P. Qiu, Peng Shi, Xiao J. Zheng, Ming M. Su, Ai H. Zhao, Zeng T. Zhou, Wei Jia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Oral cancer is the sixth most common human cancer, with a high morbidity rate and an overall 5-year survival rate of less than 50%. It is often not diagnosed until it has reached an advanced stage. Therefore, an early diagnostic and stratification strategy is of great importance for oral cancer. In the current study, urine samples of patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC, n = 37), oral leukoplakia (OLK, n = 32) and healthy subjects (n = 34) were analyzed by gas chromatographymass spectrometry (GC-MS). Using multivariate statistical analysis, the urinary metabolite profiles of OSCC, OLK and healthy control samples can be clearly discriminated and a panel of differentially expressed metabolites was obtained. Metabolites, valine and 6-hydroxynicotic acid, in combination yielded an accuracy of 98.9%, sensitivity of 94.4%, specificity of 91.4%, and positive predictive value of 91.9% in distinguishing OSCC from the controls. The combination of three differential metabolites, 6-hydroxynicotic acid, cysteine, and tyrosine, was able to discriminate between OSCC and OLK with an accuracy of 92.7%, sensitivity of 85.0%, specificity of 89.7%, and positive predictive value of 91.9%. This study demonstrated that the metabolite markers derived from this urinary metabolite profiling approach may hold promise as a diagnostic tool for early stage OSCC and its differentiation from other oral conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-231
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
  • Metabolomics
  • Metabonomics
  • Multivariate statistical analysis
  • Oral cancer
  • Oral leukoplakia
  • Oral squamous cell carcinoma
  • Receiver operating characteristic
  • Urine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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