Polyamine Metabolites as Biomarkers in Head and Neck Cancer Biofluids

Brian C. Defelice, Oliver Fiehn, Peter Belafsky, Constanze Ditterich, Michael Moore, Marianne Abouyared, Angela M. Beliveau, D. Gregory Farwell, Arnaud F. Bewley, Shannon M. Clayton, Joehleen A. Archard, Jordan Pavlic, Shyam Rao, Maggie Kuhn, Peter Deng, Julian Halmai, Kyle D. Fink, Andrew C. Birkeland, Johnathon Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Novel, non-invasive diagnostic biomarkers that facilitate early intervention in head and neck cancer are urgently needed. Polyamine metabolites have been observed to be elevated in numerous cancer types and correlated with poor prognosis. The aim of this study was to assess the concentration of polyamines in the saliva and urine from head and neck cancer (HNC) patients, compared to healthy controls. Methods: Targeted metabolomic analysis was performed on saliva and urine from 39 HNC patient samples and compared to 89 healthy controls using a quantitative, targeted liquid chromatography mass spectrometry approach. Results: The metabolites N1-acetylspermine (ASP), N8-acetylspermidine (ASD) and N1,N12-diacetylspermine (DAS) were detected at significantly different concentrations in the urine of HNC patients as compared to healthy controls. Only ASP was detected at elevated levels in HNC saliva as compared to healthy controls. Conclusion: These data suggest that assessment of polyamine-based metabolite biomarkers within the saliva and urine warrants further investigation as a potential diagnostic in HNC patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number797
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • biomarkers
  • head and neck cancer
  • metabolomics
  • polyamines
  • saliva
  • urine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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