Metabolomic profiles of current cigarette smokers

Ping Ching Hsu, Renny S. Lan, Theodore M. Brasky, Catalin Marian, Amrita K. Cheema, Habtom W. Ressom, Christopher A. Loffredo, Wallace B. Pickworth, Peter G. Shields

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Smoking-related biomarkers for lung cancer and other diseases are needed to enhance early detection strategies and to provide a science base for tobacco product regulation. An untargeted metabolomics approach by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole-time of flight mass spectrometry (UHPLC-Q-TOF MS) totaling 957 assays was used in a novel experimental design where 105 current smokers smoked two cigarettes 1 h apart. Blood was collected immediately before and after each cigarette allowing for within-subject replication. Dynamic changes of the metabolomic profiles from smokers’ four blood samples were observed and biomarkers affected by cigarette smoking were identified. Thirty-one metabolites were definitively shown to be affected by acute effect of cigarette smoking, uniquely including menthol-glucuronide, the reduction of glutamate, oleamide, and 13 glycerophospholipids. This first time identification of a menthol metabolite in smokers’ blood serves as proof-of-principle for using metabolomics to identify new tobacco-exposure biomarkers, and also provides new opportunities in studying menthol-containing tobacco products in humans. Gender and race differences also were observed. Network analysis revealed 12 molecules involved in cancer, notably inhibition of cAMP. These novel tobacco-related biomarkers provide new insights to the effects of smoking which may be important in carcinogenesis but not previously linked with tobacco-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)594-606
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • menthol
  • metabolomics
  • plasma
  • smokers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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