Background: Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma (ESCC) is a common malignant
tumor in China, which causes about 200,000 deaths each year. Sensitive biomarkers are helpful to
diagnose the disease in early stage.
Methods: To identify biomarkers of ESCC and elucidate underlying mechanism of the disease, a
targeted metabolomics strategy based on liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LCMS/
MS) has been implemented to explore tyrosine metabolism from 40 ESCC patients and 27
Results: Four metabolites, i.e. phenylalanine, 4-hydroxyphenyllactic acid, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine,
and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid were identified as diagnostic biomarkers for ESCC
patients. Based on these biomarkers, a prediction model was constructed for ESCC diagnosis. The
analysis of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve confirmed its effectiveness of the model.
Conclusion: Our results reveal that tyrosine metabolism is disturbed in ESCC patients and the
metabolites involved in tyrosine pathway can be used as diagnostic biomarkers of the disease.
Findings of this study can help investigate pathogenesis of ESCC and facilitate understanding
mechanism of the disease.