To improve the quality of life of colorectal cancer patients, it is important to establish new screening methods for early diagnosis of colorectal cancer.
We performed serum metabolome analysis using gas-chromatography/mass-spectrometry (GC/MS). First, the accuracy of our GC/MS-based serum metabolomic analytical method was evaluated by calculating the RSD% values of serum levels of various metabolites. Second, the intra-day (morning, daytime, and night) and inter-day (among 3 days) variances of serum metabolite levels were examined. Then, serum metabolite levels were compared between colorectal cancer patients (N = 60; N = 12 for each stage from 0 to 4) and age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers (N = 60) as a training set. The metabolites whose levels displayed significant changes were subjected to multiple logistic regression analysis using the stepwise variable selection method, and a colorectal cancer prediction model was established. The prediction model was composed of 2-hydroxybutyrate, aspartic acid, kynurenine, and cystamine, and its AUC, sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 0.9097, 85.0%, 85.0%, and 85.0%, respectively, according to the training set data. In contrast, the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of CEA were 35.0%, 96.7%, and 65.8%, respectively, and those of CA19-9 were 16.7%, 100%, and 58.3%, respectively. The validity of the prediction model was confirmed using colorectal cancer patients (N = 59) and healthy volunteers (N = 63) as a validation set. At the validation set, the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of the prediction model were 83.1%, 81.0%, and 82.0%, respectively, and these values were almost the same as those obtained with the training set. In addition, the model displayed high sensitivity for detecting stage 0–2 colorectal cancer (82.8%).
Our prediction model established via GC/MS-based serum metabolomic analysis is valuable for early detection of colorectal cancer and has the potential to become a novel screening test for colorectal cancer.