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Exhaled Breath Biomarker May Detect Lung Cancer

Researchers develop breath-based clinical test (October 28)

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have discovered that lung cancer may be detected in patients by analyzing their exhaled breath. Moreover, preliminary studies suggest that an accurate exhaled breath biomarker could be developed for use as a clinical test. The new findings were presented at the 2013 American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) annual meeting (CHEST 2013) in Chicago.

“We believe that cancer cells release a unique chemical signature related to the tumor-growing process,” said lead investigator Peter J. Mazzone, MD, FCCP. “We are currently developing a breath-based test based on the results of our research.”

Mazzone and his colleagues studied 82 subjects with biopsy-confirmed lung cancer who had not received treatment along with a control group of 155 people who were either at risk for lung cancer or had benign lung nodules.

The 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 subjects’ breath, resulting in sensor changes that accurately distinguished the breath of subjects with lung cancer from the control subjects.

Source: Medical Xpress; October 28, 2013.

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