Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 63, Issue 5, pp 1229–1236 | Cite as

Fecal Fatty Acid Profiling as a Potential New Screening Biomarker in Patients with Colorectal Cancer

  • Eun Mi Song
  • Jeong-Sik Byeon
  • Sun Mi Lee
  • Hyun Ju Yoo
  • Su Jung Kim
  • Sun-Ho Lee
  • Kiju Chang
  • Sung Wook Hwang
  • Dong-Hoon Yang
  • Jin-Yong Jeong
Original Article



The fatty acid profile of the fecal metabolome and its association with colorectal cancer (CRC) has not been fully evaluated.


We aimed to compare the fecal fatty acid profiles of CRC patients and healthy controls.


We enrolled 26 newly diagnosed CRC patients and 28 healthy individuals between July 2014 and August 2014 from our institute. Long- and short-chain fatty acids were extracted from fecal samples and analyzed using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry.


Regarding fecal long-chain fatty acids, the levels of total ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and, particularly, of linoleic acid (C18:2ω-6) were significantly higher in male CRC patients than in healthy men (2.750 ± 2.583 vs. 1.254 ± 0.966 µg/mg feces, P = 0.040; 2.670 ± 2.507 vs. 1.226 ± 0.940 µg/mg feces, P = 0.034, respectively). In addition, the levels of total monounsaturated fatty acid and, particularly, of oleic acid (C18:1ω-9) were significantly higher in male CRC patients than in healthy men (1.802 ± 1.331 vs. 0.977 ± 0.625 µg/mg feces, P = 0.027; 1.749 ± 1.320 vs. 0.932 ± 0.626 µg/mg feces, P = 0.011, respectively). However, those differences were not shown in female gender. The level of fecal short-chain fatty acids was not different between CRC patients and healthy controls.


There were changes in the profiles of fecal fatty acid metabolomes in CRC patients compared to healthy controls, implying that fecal fatty acids could be used as a novel screening tool for CRC.


Colorectal neoplasm Feces Metabolome Fatty acids 


Author’s contribution

EMS, JSB, and JYJ designed the study; SML, HJY, SJK, SHL, KJC, SWH, and DHY collected, interpreted, and analyzed the data; EMS performed the statistical analysis; SHL, KJC, SWH, and DHY cared for the patients and critically reviewed the manuscript; EMS, JSB, and JYJ drafted the manuscript; and JSB and JYJ are the guarantors of the article and approved the final manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Eun Mi Song, Jeong-Sik Byeon, Sun Mi Lee, Hyun Ju Yoo, Su Jung Kim, Sun-Ho Lee, Kiju Chang, Sung Wook Hwang, Dong-Hoon Yang, and Jin-Yong Jeong have no conflict of interest or financial ties to declare.

Supplementary material

10620_2018_4982_MOESM1_ESM.docx (27 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Gastroenterology, Asan Medical CenterUniversity of Ulsan College of MedicineSeoulKorea
  2. 2.Department of Convergence Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Asan Institute for Life SciencesUniversity of Ulsan College of MedicineSeoulKorea

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