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BCNMR study

Laatste wijziging: 24 January 2022

Metabolic changes as diagnostic indicator for cancer


Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Peter Adriaensens


Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and one of the most important causes of death. Previously, it has been shown that the mortality rate can be greatly reduced by using mammography screening. This screening allows early diagnosis of breast cancer, but it also has some limitations. Mammography screening is only usable by woman at later age (> 50 years), it is not applicable for certain types of breast and it is not always conclusive. The sensitivity of mammography in women younger than 50 years is only 62 to 76%, while 25% of all breast tumors have already developed before this age. In order to improve the chances of survival in this patient population, there are urgent additional cost-efficient methods needed that make it possible to detect breast cancer at an early stage.


Several studies have already demonstrated the potential of 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to detect cancer. This technique allows complex mixtures of metabolites, such as found in plasma or serum, to be identified and quantified within a few minutes. This study aims at detecting metabolic changes in plasma of patients with breast cancer by using 1 H-NMR spectroscopy and using these found biomarkers for the diagnosis of the disease. Early detection of breast cancer contributes to increased life expectancy and reduced destructive consequences for the patient.



  • Louis E, Adriaensens P, Guedens W,  Bigirumurame T, Baeten K, Vanhove K, Vandeurzen K, Darquennes K, Vansteenkiste J, Dooms C, Shkedy Z, Mesotten L, Thomeer M. Detection of Lung Cancer through Metabolic Changes Measured in Blood Plasma. J Thorac Oncol. 2016;11(4):516-23.


  • Louis E, Adriaensens P, Guedens W, Vanhove K, Vandeurzen K, Darquennes K, Vansteenkiste J, Dooms C, de Jonge E, Thomeer M, Mesotten L. Metabolic phenotyping of human blood plasma: a powerful tool to discriminate between cancer types? AnnOncol. 2016;27(1):178–84.
  • Louis E, Cantrelle FX, Mesotten L, Reekmans G, Bervoets L, Vanhove K, Thomeer M, Lippens G, Adriaensens P. Metabolic phenotyping of human plasma by 1 H-NMR at high and medium magnetic field strengths: a case study for lung cancer. Magn Reson Chem. 2017;55(8):706-713.
  • Louis R, Louis E, Stinkens K, Mesotten L, de Jonge E, Thomeer M, Caenepeel P, Adriaensens P. Metabolic Phenotyping of Blood Plasma by Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance to Discriminate between Colorectal Cancer, Breast Cancer and Lung Cancer. Metabolomics: Open Access. 2017;6(3):1-5.