Poor outcome of pancreatic cancer necessitates development of an early diagnostic method to reduce mortality. No reliable early diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer detection has been developed and validated to date. In the current study, metabolic profiling of plasma samples from selected cancer patients and noncancerous controls was performed to seek novel metabolic biomarkers of pancreatic cancer. A comprehensive mass spectrometry based analytical platform established at the Metabolomics Core of the UC Davis Genome Center allowed detection of multiple compounds previously unreported in plasma from pancreatic cancer patients. It was found that selective amino acids, bile acids, and polar lipids were detected with increased or decreased levels in pancreatic cancer samples compared to controls. These findings on blood plasma levels of the relevant metabolites might be very useful clinical parameters for early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.