Breath test may help detect lung cancer: Study

By Philaso G. Kaping | Last Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 19:10
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Zee Media Bureau\Philaso G Kaping

New Delhi: A simple breath test can help detect lung cancer in its early stages, according to a new study.

Researchers from University of Louisville using a silicone microprocessor and mass spectrometer tested the exhaled breaths of patients with suspicious lung lesions to detect the presence and levels of specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs; aldehydes and ketones, collectively called carbonyls).

The researchers then matched their findings with pathologic and clinical results, according to the study released at the 50th Annual Meeting of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

“Although the data are preliminary, we found that patients with an elevation of three or four cancer-specific carbonyl compounds was predictive of lung cancer in 95% of patients with a pulmonary nodule or mass,” said Dr. Michael Bousamra, MD. “Conversely, the absence of elevated VOC levels was predictive of a benign mass in 80% of patients.”

Elevated carbonyl concentrations returned to normal following surgery to remove the malignant nodule.

“Instead of sending patients for invasive biopsy procedures when a suspicious lung mass is identified, our study suggests that exhaled breath could identify which patients may be directed for an immediate intraoperative biopsy and resection,” said Dr. Bousamra.  

First Published: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 18:59

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