Plasma metabolomics and clinical predictors of survival differences in COPD patients

Victor Pinto-Plata, Ciro Casanova, Miguel Divo, Yohannes Tesfaigzi, Vince Calhoun, Jing Sui, Francesca Polverino, Carmen Priolo, Hans Petersen, Juan Pablo De Torres, Jose Maria Marin, Caroline A. Owen, Rebeca Baz, Elizabeth Cordova, Bartolome Celli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Plasma metabolomics profile (PMP) in COPD has been associated with clinical characteristics, but PMP's relationship to survival has not been reported. We determined PMP differences between patients with COPD who died an average of 2 years after enrollment (Non-survivors, NS) compared to those who survived (S) and also with age matched controls (C). Methods: We studied prospectively 90 patients with severe COPD and 30 controls. NS were divided in discovery and validation cohorts (30 patients each) and the results compared to the PMP of 30 S and C. All participants completed lung function tests, dyspnea scores, quality of life, exercise capacity, BODE index, and plasma metabolomics by liquid and gas chromatography/mass spectometry (LC/MS, LC/MS2, GC/MS). Statistically, we used Random Forest Analysis (RFA) and Support Vector Machine (SVM) to determine metabolites that differentiated the 3 groups and compared the ability of metabolites vs. clinical characteristics to classify patients into survivors and non-survivors. Results: There were 79 metabolites statistically different between S and NS [p < 0.05 and false discovery rate (q value) < 0.1]. RFA and SVM classification of COPD survivors and non-survivors had a predicted accuracy of 74 and 85% respectively. Elevation of tricyclic acid cycle intermediates branched amino acids depletion and increase in lactate, fructose and xylonate showed the most relevant differences between S vs. NS suggesting alteration in mitochondrial oxidative energy generation. PMP had similar predictive power for risk of death as information provided by clinical characteristics. Conclusions: A plasma metabolomic profile characterized by an oxidative energy production difference between survivors and non-survivors was observed in COPD patients 2 years before death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number219
JournalRespiratory Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • COPD
  • Dyspnea
  • Exercise capacity
  • Metabolomics
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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