Analysis of cerebrospinal fluid metabolites in patients with primary or metastatic central nervous system tumors

Leomar Y. Ballester, Guangrong Lu, Soheil Zorofchian, Venkatrao Vantaku, Vasanta Putluri, Yuanqing Yan, Octavio Arevalo, Ping Zhu, Roy F. Riascos, Arun Sreekumar, Yoshua Esquenazi, Nagireddy Putluri, Jay Jiguang Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cancer cells have altered cellular metabolism. Mutations in genes associated with key metabolic pathways (e.g., isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 and 2, IDH1/IDH2) are important drivers of cancer, including central nervous system (CNS) tumors. Therefore, we hypothesized that the abnormal metabolic state of CNS cancer cells leads to abnormal levels of metabolites in the CSF, and different CNS cancer types are associated with specific changes in the levels of CSF metabolites. To test this hypothesis, we used mass spectrometry to analyze 129 distinct metabolites in CSF samples from patients without a history of cancer (n = 8) and with a variety of CNS tumor types (n = 23) (i.e., glioma IDH-mutant, glioma-IDH wildtype, metastatic lung cancer and metastatic breast cancer). Unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis shows tumor-specific metabolic signatures that facilitate differentiation of tumor type from CSF analysis. We identified differences in the abundance of 43 metabolites between CSF from control patients and the CSF of patients with primary or metastatic CNS tumors. Pathway analysis revealed alterations in various metabolic pathways (e.g., glycine, choline and methionine degradation, dipthamide biosynthesis and glycolysis pathways, among others) between IDH-mutant and IDH-wildtype gliomas. Moreover, patients with IDH-mutant gliomas demonstrated higher levels of D-2-hydroxyglutarate in the CSF, in comparison to patients with other tumor types, or controls. This study demonstrates that analysis of CSF metabolites can be a clinically useful tool for diagnosing and monitoring patients with primary or metastatic CNS tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85
Number of pages1
JournalActa Neuropathologica Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 31 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Baylor College of Medicine Metabolomics core with funding from the NIH (P30 CA125123), CPRIT Proteomics and Metabolomics Core Facility (D.P.E.), (RP170005), and Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center. This research also supported by American Cancer Society (ACS) Award 127430-RSG-15-105-01-CNE (N.P.), NIH U01 CA167234 (A.S.K) and NIH R01CA220297 (N.P.). U01CA179674 (A.S.K), RP120092 (ASK), Agilent Foundation and Brockman Foundation.


  • Brain tumor
  • CSF
  • Glioma
  • Hydroxyglutarate
  • Liquid biopsy
  • Metabolites


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