Mass spectrometry (MS) is increasingly used in clinical studies to obtain molecular evidence of chemical exposures, such as tobacco smoke, alcohol, and drugs. This evidence can help verify clinical data retrieved through anamnesis or questionnaires and may provide insights into unreported exposures, for example those classified as the same despite small but possibly relevant chemical differences or due to contaminants in reported exposure compounds. Here, we aimed to explore the potential of untargeted SWATH metabolomics to differentiate such closely related exposures. This data-independent acquisition MS-based profiling technique was applied to urine samples of 316 liver and 570 kidney transplant recipients from the TransplantLines Biobank and Cohort Study (NCT03272841), where we focused on the immunosuppressive drug mycophenolate, which is either supplied as a morpholino-ester prodrug or as an enteric-coated product, the illicit drug cocaine, which is usually supplied as an adulterated product, and the proton pump inhibitors omeprazole and esomeprazole. Based on these examples, we found that untargeted SWATH metabolomics has considerable potential to identify different (unreported) exposure or co-exposure metabolites and may determine variations in their abundances. We also found that these signals alone may sometimes be unable to distinguish closely related exposures, and enhancement of differentiation, for example by integration with pharmacogenomics data, is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number942
Number of pages14
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2022


  • data-independent acquisition
  • exposomics
  • liquid chromatography
  • mass spectrometry
  • metabolomics
  • transplantation

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