Preoperative plasma fatty acid metabolites inform risk of prostate cancer progression and may be used for personalized patient stratification

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Little is known about the relationship between the metabolite profile of plasma from pre-operative prostate cancer (PCa) patients and the risk of PCa progression. In this study we investigated the association between pre-operative plasma metabolites and risk of biochemical-, local- and metastatic-recurrence, with the aim of improving patient stratification. METHODS: We conducted a case-control study within a cohort of PCa patients recruited between 1996 and 2015. The age-matched primary cases (n = 33) were stratified in low risk, high risk without progression and high risk with progression as defined by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. These samples were compared to metastatic (n = 9) and healthy controls (n = 10). The pre-operative plasma from primary cases and the plasma from metastatic patients and controls were assessed with untargeted metabolomics by LC-MS. The association between risk of progression and metabolite abundance was calculated using multivariate Cox proportional-hazard regression and the relationship between metabolites and outcome was calculated using median cut-off normalized values of metabolite abundance by Log-Rank test using the Kaplan Meier method. RESULTS: Medium-chain acylcarnitines (C6-C12) were positively associated with the risk of PSA progression (p = 0.036, median cut-off) while long-chain acylcarnitines (C14-C16) were inversely associated with local (p = 0.034) and bone progression (p = 0.0033). In primary cases, medium-chain acylcarnitines were positively associated with suberic acid, which also correlated with the risk of PSA progression (p = 0.032, Log-Rank test). In the metastatic samples, this effect was consistent for hexanoylcarnitine, L.octanoylcarnitine and decanoylcarnitine. Medium-chain acylcarnitines and suberic acid displayed the same inverse association with tryptophan, while indoleacetic acid, a breakdown product of tryptophan metabolism was strongly associated with PSA (p = 0.0081, Log-Rank test) and lymph node progression (p = 0.025, Log-Rank test). These data were consistent with the increased expression of indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO1) in metastatic versus primary samples (p = 0.014). Finally, functional experiments revealed a synergistic effect of long chain fatty acids in combination with dihydrotestosterone administration on the transcription of androgen responsive genes. CONCLUSIONS: This study strengthens the emerging link between fatty acid metabolism and PCa progression and suggests that measuring levels of medium- and long-chain acylcarnitines in pre-operative patient plasma may provide a basis for improving patient stratification.

BMC Cancer