Metabolomic studies of breast cancer in murine models: A review


Background: Metabolomic strategies have been extensively used to search for biomarkers of disease, including cancer, in biological complex mixtures such as cells, tissues and biofluids. In breast cancer research, murine models are of great value and metabolomics has been increasingly applied to characterize tumor or organ tissues, or biofluids, for instance to follow-up metabolism during cancer progression or response to specific therapies. Scope of review: This review briefly introduces the different murine models used in breast cancer research and proceeds to present the metabolomic studies reported so far to describe the deviant metabolic behavior associated to breast cancer, in each type of model: xenografts (cell- or patient-derived), spontaneous (naturally-occurring or genetically engineered) and carcinogen-induced. The type of sample and strategies followed are identified, as well as the main findings from of study. Major conclusions: Metabolomics has gradually become relevant in characterizing murine models of breast cancer, using either Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) or Mass Spectromety (MS). Both tissue and biofluids are matrixes of interest in this context, although in some type of models, reports have focused primarily on the former. The aims of tissue studies have comprised the search for mechanistic knowledge of carcinogenesis, metastasis development and response/resistance to therapies. Biofluid metabolomics has mainly aimed at finding non-invasive biomarkers for early breast cancer detection or prognosis determination. General significance: Metabolomics provides exquisite detail on murine tumor and systemic metabolism of breast cancer. This knowledge paves the way for the discovery of new biomarkers, potentially translatable to in vivo non-invasive patient follow-up.



subject category

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Biophysics; Cell Biology


Araujo, R; Bispo, D; Helguero, LA; Gil, AM

our authors


This work was developed within the scope of the project CICECOAveiro Institute of Materials, UIDB/50011/2020 and UIDP/50011/2020, financed by national funds through the FCT/MCTE and when appropriate co-financed by FEDER under the PT2020 Partenership Agreement. AMG acknowledges the Portuguese National NMR Network (RNRMN), supported by FCT funds, and RA thanks RNRMN for her grant through the Doctoral Program in NMR applied to Chemistry, Materials and Biosciences -PTNMRPhD (PD/00065/2013). The authors also acknowledge financial support from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology through projects UID/BIM/04501/2019 and POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007628 (LH); and Integrated Programme CENTRO-01-0145-FEDER-000003 (LH), project cofunded through the COMPETE 2020 program and European Union fund FEDER, with references POCI-01-0145-FEDER-028835 and PTDC/BTMORG/28835/2017 (DB), and PTDC/QEQ-MED/1890/2014, within Project 3599-to Promote Scientific Production and Technological Development as well as the formation of thematic networks (3599PPCDT) -jointly financed by the European Community Fund FEDER (AMG and RA).

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