Lipid extracts of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collected from children with leukemia were separated on normal‐phase high‐performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and analyzed by fast atom bombardment mass spectrometry (FABMS) and tandem FABMS/MS. CSF samples from 13 children with leukemia receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatment were analyzed. Analysis of the results permits the identification of phosphatidylcholine (PC), sphingomyelin (SM), diacylglycerol (DAG) and lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) molecular species. The following changes in the CSF phospholipid composition during treatment with chemotherapy were identified: (i) presence of DAGs and LPCs and (ii) increase in SM relative to PC. A predominance of the C18:1 SM was observed during radiation treatment. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the application of HPLC and FABMS for the analysis of human CSF. The possibility of using FABMS and FABMS/MS for the direct analysis of the total CSF lipid extracts in cancer patients is demonstrated.
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