A pilot study identifying a potential plasma biomarker for determining EGFR mutations in exons 19 or 21 in lung cancer patients

Aryo D. Pamungkas, Carl A. Medriano, Eunjung Sim, Sungyong Lee, Youngja H. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The most common type of lung cancer is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which is frequently characterized by a mutation in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Determining the presence of an EGFR mutation in lung cancer is important, as it determines the type of treatment that a patients will receive. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to apply high-resolution metabolomics (HRM) using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to identify significant compounds in human plasma samples obtained from South Korean NSCLC patients, as potential biomarkers for providing early detection and diagnosis of minimally-invasive NSCLC. The metabolic differences between lung cancer patients without EGFR mutations were compared with patients harboring EGFR mutations. Univariate analysis was performed, with a false discovery rate of q=0.05, in order to identify significant metabolites between the two groups. In addition, hierarchical clustering analysis was performed to discriminate between the metabolic profiles of the two groups. Furthermore, the significant metabolites were identified and mapped using Mummichog software, in order to generate a potential metabolic network model. Using metabolome-wide association studies, metabolic alterations were identified. Linoleic acid [303.23 m/z, (M+Na)+], 5-methyl tetrahydrofolate [231.10 m/z, (M+2H)+] and N-succinyl-L-glutamate-5 semialdehyde [254.06 m/z, (M+Na)+], were observed to be elevated in patients harboring EGFR mutations, whereas tetradecanoyl carnitine [394.29 m/z, (M+Na)+] was observed to be reduced. This suggests that these compounds may be affected by the EGFR mutation. In conclusion, the present study identified four potential biomarkers in patients with EGFR mutations, using HRM combined with pathway analysis. These results may facilitate the development of novel diagnostic tools for EGFR mutation detection in patients with lung cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4155-4161
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Medicine Reports
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The present study was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (grant nos. NRF-2014R1A1A2053787 and NRF-2017R1A2B4003890) and the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (grant no. HI14C2686). The authors would like to thank Dr Karan Uppal from the Emory University School of Medicine (Atlanta, GA, USA) for providing the R-package used to run the metabolome-wide association study. Mr. Aryo D. Pamungkas gratefully acknowledges the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) for the financial support of his master degree scholarship.


  • Biomarker
  • Epidermal growth factor receptor mutation
  • High-resolution metabolomics
  • Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry
  • Lung cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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