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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention


Metabolomics is the study of small-molecule metabolites in cells, tissues, and organisms that are present in biofluids such as plasma and urine. An emerging field of study, metabolomics has the potential to improve exposure measures and delineate mechanistic links between exposures and cancer. 

DCEG investigators launched the DCEG Metabolomics Initiative in 2011 to pilot the available technologies and evaluate their potential use in etiologic studies.  In studying the metabolomics of energy balance, nutritional status, and cancer, they uncovered biomarkers for body mass index, diet, and smoking, along with associations between smoking-related metabolites and colorectal cancer. DCEG is now collaborating with investigators from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and Shanghai Cancer Institute to conduct a large study of the metabolomic risk factors for breast cancer in Shanghai women and a replication study in PLCO, with other studies in planning.

For more information on this early research, contact Steven Moore.

Metabolic Epidemiology Branch - Research Areas