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Urinary Volatile Organic Compounds for Detection of Breast Cancer and Monitoring Chemical and Mechanical Cancer Treatments in Mice
The aim of this study is to identify metabolic transformations in breast cancer through urinary volatile organic compounds in mammary pad or bone tumor mice models. Subsequently, it focuses on investigating the efficacy of therapeutic intervention through identified potential biomarkers. Methods for monitoring tumor development and treatment responses have technologically advanced over the years leading to significant increase in percent survival rates. Although these modalities are reliable, it would be beneficial to observe disease progression from a new perspective to gain greater understanding of cancer pathogenesis. Analysis of cellular energetics affected by cancer using bio-fluids can non-invasively help in prognosis and selection of treatment regimens. The hypothesis is altered profiles of urinary volatile metabolites is directly related to disrupted metabolic pathways. Additionally, effectiveness of treatments can be indicated through changes in concentration of metabolites. In this ancillary experiment, mouse urine specimens were analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, an analytical chemistry tool in identifying volatile organic compounds. Female BALB/c mice were injected with 4T1.2 murine breast tumor cells in the mammary fat pad. Consecutively, 4T1.2 cells were injected in the right iliac artery of BALB/c mice and E0771 tumor cells injected in the tibia of C57BL/6 mice to model bone tumor. The effect of two different modes of treatment: chemical drug and mechanical stimulation was investigated through changes in compound profiles. Chemical drug therapy was conducted with dopamine agents, Triuoperazine, Fluphenazine and a statin, Pitavastatin. Mechanical stimulation included tibia and knee loading at the site of tumor cell injection were given to mice. A biological treatment mode included administration of A5 osteocyte cell line. A set of potential volatile organic compounds biomarkers differentiating mammary pad or bone confined tumors from healthy controls was identified using forward feature selection. Effect of treatments was demonstrated through hierarchical heat maps and multivariate data analysis. Compounds identified in series of experiments belonged to the class of terpenoids, precursors of cholesterol molecules. Terpene synthesis is a descending step of mevalonate pathway suggesting its potential role in cancer pathogenesis. This thesis demonstrates the ability of urine volatilomics to indicate signaling pathways inflicted in tumors. It proposes a concept of using urine to detect tumor developments at two distinct locations as well as to monitor treatment efficacy.