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Immuno-Oncology Therapy is a Targeted Answer to Cancer

Cancer is the second highest cause of death worldwide and is associated with approximately 10 million deaths per year.1 To alleviate cancer outcomes, various types of therapeutic agents continue to be developed. Although traditional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation have been the prevalent option for cancer treatment, the development of immuno-oncology therapies can provide high specificity and longer-lasting remissions.2

Immuno-oncology therapies harness the power of the host’s immune system to prevent, control, and eliminate cancer. The role of the immune system is to eliminate potential threats to our health. The system works well, but cancer cells sometimes slip past this mechanism. Immuno-oncology is an emerging field that enables the host’s immune system to better recognize and target cancer cells.

Predictive Biomarkers are Required for Better Patient Stratification

Immuno-oncology therapies have revolutionized the treatment landscape for cancer patients and have led to an improvement in survival rates across multiple cancer types. Unfortunately, not all patients respond to immunotherapy. Biomarkers can predict which patients are most likely to respond to immuno-oncology therapy and improve clinical decision-making and treatment efficacy. However, currently available biomarkers are unable to reliably select the right patients for optimal clinical benefit. In the oncology field, metabolomics has shown potential for early diagnosis, prognosis, and drug therapy design. It could also lead to a better selection of drugs that enhance the overall treatment options for immuno-oncology therapies for specific patient populations.

A Better Understanding of Cancer Immunotherapy

Metabolomics can find predictive biomarkers and targets for manipulating the host immune response. Host-related factors have long been overlooked in favor of cancer-related factors in oncology. Metabolon’s metabolomics technology provides a reproducible analysis of a sample’s metabolomic profile, which may lead to the identification of metabolic signatures that are unique to successful immuno-oncology treatments. This metabolic signature could have application as a predictor of response to cancer immunotherapy.

Choose the Right Patients

Metabolomics enables, accelerates, and supports immuno-oncology drug pipeline development through phenotypic and immune-metabolic biomarker discovery, thus facilitating a more personalized medicine approach. Metabolon’s metabolomics technology relies on a reference library of 5400+ metabolites covering a wide range of types of biochemicals, detected in serum, tissue, and fecal samples, among many others. With 20+ years of experience and an industry-leading library, Metabolon has the broadest coverage and capability to see potential biomarkers across the spectrum of metabolic pathways in your data.

See how Metabolon can advance your path to preclinical and clinical insights

Metabolomics Panels for Immuno-Oncology

Amino Acids Targeted Panel

Amino acids (AA) are the foundational building blocks for peptides and proteins. These small molecules regulate metabolic pathways that are involved in cell maintenance, growth, reproduction, and immunity. Branched chain amino acids play a large role in building muscle tissue and participate in increasing protein synthesis. Amino acids also play a role in cell signaling, gene expression and protein phosphorylation. Maintaining an optimal balance of amino acids is vital to maintaining a stable equilibrium of physiological processes.
Amino Acids Targeted Panel
Bile Acids Targeted Panel

Bile Acids Targeted Panel

Bile acids are derived from cholesterol and serve an important role in emulsifying and digesting lipids. In addition, their metabolism is intimately involved with the microbiota, and they have been shown to exhibit endocrine and metabolic activity via receptors like FXR and TGR5. The Bile Acids Targeted Panel measures all the major human and rodent primary and secondary bile acids as well as their glycine and taurine conjugates.

Central Carbons Targeted Panel

Central carbon metabolism involves the enzymatic conversion of sugars into metabolic precursors that are used to generate the entire biomass of the cell. The metabolites in this panel include key citric acid cycle compounds that connect carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. In addition to supplying key metabolic precursors, central carbon metabolism is used to oxidize simple sugar molecules obtained from food to supply energy to living systems. Measurement of central carbon metabolites has great industrial relevance since it may allow the engineering of selected metabolic steps to optimize carbon flow toward precursors for industrially important metabolites.
Central Carbons Targeted Panel
Free Fatty Acids Targeted Panel

Free Fatty Acids Targeted Panel

Fatty acids play many physiologically important roles in an organism. They are not only key metabolites of energy storage and production but also the basic building blocks of complex lipids that form cellular membranes. A variety of bioactive forms of fatty acid metabolites, known as lipid mediators, act as local hormones and are involved in many physiological systems and pathological processes. Free fatty acids (FFA, non-esterified fatty acids, NEFA) are the nonbound fraction of the total fatty acid pool. The determination of FFAs in plasma (or serum) is of clinical relevance as the association between FFAs and many diseases is well-known (eg, insulin resistance/type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease).

Impaired Glucose Tolerance Targeted Panel

Impaired Glucose Tolerance is a prediabetic state of hyperglycemia that is associated with insulin resistance and an increased risk of cardiovascular pathology (Barr, 2007). The condition occurs when blood glucose levels remain high for an extended period after oral ingestion of glucose but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

Impaired Glucose Tolerance can be assessed with a single fasted blood draw by measuring a panel of selected metabolites comprised of two small organic acids (α-hydroxybutyric acid (AHB) and 4-methyl-2-oxopentanoic acid (4MOP)), 2 lipids (oleic acid and linoleoyl glycerophosphocholine (LGPC)), a ketone body (β-hydroxybutyric acid (BHBA)), an amino acid (serine), a vitamin (pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)), and glucose.

Impaired Glucose Tolerance Targeted Panel
Metal Analysis Targeted Panel

Metal Analysis Targeted Panel

Metabolon’s ICP-MS-based Metal Analysis Targeted Panel provides precise measurements of biologically important metal ions in biological samples. In addition to the well-established problems of toxicity associated with several metals, the vital role these ions play in a variety of biological pathways whether by catalyzing enzymatic reactions or stabilizing protein structures is still becoming clear. Intimately intertwined with the proteome and metabolome, metal ions represent an intrinsic piece vital to the holistic understanding of biological phenomena ranging from development through normal functioning to disease. Without an understanding of the role of these metals, a complete understanding of biological processes is not possible. The Metal Analysis Targeted Panel measures a variety of metals ions ranging from the macro level (ppm) including Na, K, and Ca to the micro level (ppb) including Mo, Cu, and Ni.

Tryptophan/Kynurenine Ratio Targeted Panel

The kynurenine pathway is a metabolic pathway leading to the production of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) from the enzymatic conversion of tryptophan. Immune activation leads to the formation of kynurenine with corresponding loss of tryptophan. The kynurenine/tryptophan ratio has been used to reflect the activity of the tryptophan-degrading enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) in cellular inflammatory response related to symptoms of depression, schizophrenia, and other neurological diseases.

Tryptophan Kynurenine Ratio Targeted Panel

Metabolon in Action

Better Immunotherapy Outcomes by Improving NK Cell Therapy

Metabolomics can address historically problematic issues with NK cell therapy, resulting in improved immunotherapy efficacy for multiple cancer indications.

Read the case study

Cancer Treatment Response Prediction

The Metabolon Discovery: Global Panel showed that the metabolomic fingerprint of fecal samples, collected before therapy, acts as a predictive biomarker to treatment response. Prospective identification of patients that will benefit from immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy could improve patient stratification, thus avoiding ineffective therapeutic strategies.

Read the case study

Interested in Further Studies?

Why Metabolon?

Once you see the full value of metabolomics, the only remaining question is who does it best? While many laboratories have metabolite profiling or analytical chemistry capabilities, comprehensive metabolomics technologies are extremely rare. Accurate, unbiased metabolite identification across the entire metabolome introduces signal-to-noise challenges that very few labs are equipped to handle. Also, translating massive quantities of data into actionable information is slow, if not impossible, for most because proper interpretation takes two things that are in short supply: experience and a comprehensive database.

Only Metabolon has all four core metabolomics capabilities



Ability to interrogate thousands of metabolites across diverse biochemical space, revealing new insights and opportunities



Ability to integrate the data from different studies into the same dataset, in different geographies, among different patients over time



Ability to inform on proper study design, generate high‐quality data, derive biological insights, and make actionable recommendations



Ability to process hundreds of thousands of samples quickly and cost‐efficiently to service rapidly growing demand

Partner with Metabolon to access:


A library of 5,400+ known metabolites, 2,000 in human plasma, all referenced in the context of biochemical pathways

  • That’s 5x the metabolites of the closest competitor

Unparalleled depth and breadth of experience analyzing and interpreting metabolomic data to find meaningful results

  • 10,000+ projects with hundreds of clients
  • 2,000+ publications covering 500 diseases, including numerous peer-reviewed journals such as Cell, Nature and Science
  • Nearly 40 PhDs in data science, molecular biology, and biochemistry

Using our robust platform and visualization tools, our experts are uniquely able to tell you more about your molecule and develop assay panels to help you zero in on the results you need.

Contact Us

Talk with an expert

Request a quote for our services, get more information on sample types and handling procedures, request a letter of support, or submit a question about how metabolomics can advance your research.

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1. Cancer. World Health Organization. topics/cancer#tab=tab_1.
2. Ventola CL. Cancer Immunotherapy, Part 2: Efficacy, Safety, and Other Clinical Considerations. P T. Jul 2017;42(7):452-463.