Choline metabolism-based molecular diagnosis of cancer: An update

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Abnormal choline metabolism continues to be identified in multiple cancers. Molecular causes of abnormal choline metabolism are changes in choline kinase-α, ethanolamine kinase-α, phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C and-D and glycerophosphocholine phosphodiesterases, as well as several choline transporters. The net outcome of these enzymatic changes is an increase in phosphocholine and total choline (tCho) and, in some cancers, a relative decrease of glycerophosphocholine. The increased tCho signal detected by 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy is being evaluated as a diagnostic marker in multiple cancers. Increased expression and activity of choline transporters and choline kinase-α have spurred the development of radiolabeled choline analogs as PET imaging tracers. Both tCho 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy and choline PET are being investigated to detect response to treatment. Enzymes mediating the abnormal choline metabolism are being explored as targets for cancer therapy. This review highlights recent molecular, therapeutic and clinical advances in choline metabolism in cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)735-747
Number of pages13
JournalExpert Review of Molecular Diagnostics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Cancer
  • GDPD5
  • GDPD6
  • Treatment strategy
  • choline kinase-α
  • choline metabolism
  • choline transporters
  • phospholipase C
  • phospholipase D
  • targeting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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