This study states that Despite extensive effort, the search for clinically-relevant metabolite biomarkers for early detection, disease monitoring, and outcome prediction in lung cancer remains unfulfilled. Although biofluid evaluation has been explored, the complexity inherent in metabolite data and the dynamic discrepancy between metabolites in biofluids vs. tumor tissue have prevented conclusive results. This proof-of-concept study explored models predictive of staging and chemotherapy response based on metabolomic analysis of fresh, patient-derived non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) core biopsies.

Samples (n = 36) were evaluated with high-resolution 2DLC-MS/MS and 13C-glucose enrichment, and the data were comprehensively analyzed with machine learning techniques. Patients were categorized as Disease-Control (DC) [encompassing complete-response (CR), partial-response (PR), and stable-disease (SD)] and Progressive-Disease (PD) in terms of first-line chemotherapy. Four major types of learning methods (partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA), support vector machines (SVM), artificial neural networks, and random forests (RF)) were applied to differentiate between positive (DC and CR/PR) and poor (PD and SD/PD) responses, and between stage I/II/III and stage IV disease. Models were trained with forward feature selection based on variable importance and tested on validation subsets.

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