Dogs can sniff out lung cancer, pilot study shows

December 5, 2012

Dogs are surprisingly adept at sniffing out lung cancer, results from a pilot project in Austria published on Wednesday suggested, potentially offering hope for earlier, life-saving diagnosis.

"Dogs have no problem identifying tumour patients," said Peter Errhalt, head of the pulmonology department at Krems hospital in northern Austria, one of the authors of the study.

The test saw dogs achieve a 70-percent success rate identifying cancer from 120 breath samples, a result so "encouraging" that a two-year study 10 times larger will now take place, Errhalt said.

The results echo anecdotal evidence of odd canine behaviour when around cancer sufferers and are backed up by the results of similar small studies, including one by German scientists in 2011.

The ultimate aim is not however to have canines stationed in hospitals, but for scentists to identify what scents the dogs are detecting, explained Michael Mueller from the Otto Wagner Hospital in Vienna, who collaborated on the .

This in turn could help scientists reproduce in the long term a kind of ""—minus the wagging tail—that could help diagnose in the early stages, thereby dramatically improving , Mueller said.

Explore further: Man's best friend: A joint tumor marker in man and dog

Related Stories

Man's best friend: A joint tumor marker in man and dog

April 18, 2011

The dog may be man's best friend but even so it comes as a surprise that the two species share a common tumor marker. This finding comes from a joint study between scientists of the Vetmeduni Vienna and the MedUni Wien. The ...

Trial seeks to sniff out lung cancer

June 19, 2012

Cancer smells different. Past research has shown that dogs can detect lung cancer in a person’s breath with great accuracy. But dogs are  tricky to use as a diagnostic tool; what does it mean when a dog barks once ...

Recommended for you

Combination therapy can prevent cytostatic resistance

November 26, 2015

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have found a new way of preventing resistance to cytostatics used in the treatment of cancers such as medulloblastoma, the most common form of malignant brain tumour in children. The promising ...

Forecasting the path of breast cancer in a patient

November 23, 2015

USC researchers have developed a mathematical model to forecast metastatic breast cancer survival rates using techniques usually reserved for weather prediction, financial forecasting and surfing the Web.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.