Exhaled breath biomarker may detect lung cancer

Researchers at Cleveland Clinic recently discovered that lung cancer may be detected in patients by testing their exhaled breath. Preliminary studies suggest that an accurate exhaled breath biomarker could be developed for use as a clinical test. Findings were presented at CHEST 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.

"We believe that cancer cells release a unique chemical signature related to the tumor-growing process," said Peter J. Mazzone, MD, FCCP, director of the lung cancer program for the Respiratory Institute at Cleveland Clinic. "We are currently developing a breath-based test based on the results of our research."

Dr. Mazzone and his colleagues studied 82 people with biopsy-confirmed lung cancer who had not yet received treatment against a control group of 155 people who were either at-risk for lung cancer or who had benign lung nodules. Subjects were asked to breathe normally while their breath was exposed to a high-dimensional chemical sensor called a colorimetric sensor array. The colors on the array change when exposed to various chemicals. If the chemicals in the breath contained markers for lung cancer, the array would show that in a pattern of color changes. The colorimetric sensor array continually monitored the chemicals exhaled from the breath of the subjects, resulting in sensor changes that accurately distinguished the breath of people with from the controls.

"Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States," said Michael H. Baumann, MD, MS, FCCP, president-elect, ACCP. "We welcome the cutting-edge research that can help in diagnosis and treatment of this devastating illness."

Related Stories

Trial seeks to sniff out lung cancer

date Jun 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 ...

New device uses gold nanoparticles to test for lung cancer

date Nov 17, 2011

The metabolism of lung cancer patients is different than the metabolism of healthy people. And so the molecules that make up cancer patients' exhaled breath are different too. A new device pioneered at the University of Colorado ...

Recommended for you

Spicy treatment the answer to aggressive cancer?

date Jul 03, 2015

It has been treasured by food lovers for thousands of years for its rich golden colour, peppery flavour and mustardy aroma…and now turmeric may also have a role in fighting cancer.

Cancer survivors who smoke perceive less risk from tobacco

date Jul 02, 2015

Cancer survivors who smoke report fewer negative opinions about smoking, have more barriers to quitting, and are around other smokers more often than survivors who had quit before or after their diagnosis, according to a ...

Melanoma mutation rewires cell metabolism

date Jul 02, 2015

A mutation found in most melanomas rewires cancer cells' metabolism, making them dependent on a ketogenesis enzyme, researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have discovered.

User comments

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.