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01.12.2017 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Journal of Translational Medicine 1/2017

Combination of serum histidine and plasma tryptophan as a potential biomarker to detect clear cell renal cell carcinoma

Journal of Translational Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2017
Hyung-Ok Lee, Robert G. Uzzo, Debra Kister, Warren D. Kruger
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12967-017-1178-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



In previous work, we showed that serum-free amino acid (SFAA) profiles were different between kidney cancer patients and age and sex matched controls. The goals of the current study are to: (1) confirm our initial observation on an independent sample set; (2) examine if there were similar differences in plasma-free amino acids (PFAA); and (3) determine if removal of tumors changed SFAA and PFAA profiles.


SFAA and PFAA profiles were measured in 484 samples taken from 124 healthy controls and 56 clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) patients both before and after resection of renal tumors.


SFAA and PFAA profiles taken from identical blood samples were remarkably different, with the mean individual amino acid concentrations being 40% less in plasma compared to serum. Both SFAA and PFAA profiles differed significantly between ccRCC patients and controls, but the individual amino acids that differed the most, and the direction of the changes, were quite different between the two blood components. Removal of the tumor had almost no effect on either the SFAA or PFAA profiles. A logistic regression model using serum histidine and plasma tryptophan correctly classified 85.5% of control and 84.7% of case samples.


Our findings show that that tumor mass is not directly linked to alterations in blood amino acid levels, and that a combination of serum histidine and plasma tryptophan may be useful as a biomarker to detect ccRCC.
Additional file 1: Table S1. Sample characteristics. Table S2. Serum and plasma amino acid concentrations in controls. Table S3. Serum amino acid concentrations. Table S4. Plasma amino acid concentrations. Table S5. Comparison SFAA and PFAA profiles with tumor stage. Table S6. Interaction effect between serum, plasma, and cancer.
Additional file 2: Figure S1. a, b. ROC curves for logistic regression models from SFAA and PFAA.
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