The metabolic profile of cancer cells can be used to identify biomarkers and develop therapies associated with cancer outcome.
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation Stefan Ambs and colleagues at the National Cancer Institute discovered an association between the oncometabolite 2-hydroxyglutarate (2-HG) levels, DNA methylation patterns and breast cancer prognosis.
The authors identified a breast cancer subtype with high levels of 2-HG, and a district DNA methylation pattern that was associated with reduced survival. This breast cancer subtype was common in African-American breast cancer patients, who as a group have a high prevalence of aggressive breast cancers. This study indicates that evaluation of 2-HG along with DNA methylation may be a useful biomarker for breast cancer diagnosis and prognosis.