ABSTRACT In this study, liquid chromatography/quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry (LC/QTOFMS) was employed for investigating the metabolome of the sera collected from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients before and 3 to 5 months after partial hepatectomy. To investigate the changes in metabolic phenotypes after the hepatic resection, principal components analysis (PCA) and support vector machine (SVM) were performed for the data grouping and classification. Based on the obtained SVM model, mass spectrometry spectra, database searching as well as the confirmation from authentic standards, several differentiating metabolites were tentatively identified. To improve visualization, z-score plot and heat map display were performed, which exhibited the changes in concentration of the metabolites. As a result, depletion of circulating carnitine, reduced amino acid biosynthesis and increased rate of lipid peroxidation were observed. Meanwhile, up-regulation of hypoxanthine indicated that purine metabolism might serve as the salvage pathway. Collectively, the results reflected metabolic responses to surgical operation in HCC patients, suggesting perturbation of energy metabolism may occur in 3 to 5 months after the partial hepatectomy.
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