A new study shows that an experimental “electronic nose” can detect lung cancer in the exhaled breath of people with the disease.
Researchers say the device detects unique “smellprints” found in the exhaled breath of people with lung cancer and may one day be used to conduct widespread screening for the deadly disease…
“Like the human nose, its electronic counterpart responds in concert to a given odor to generate a pattern or ‘smellprint,’ which is analyzed, compared with stored patterns and recognized,” says Erzurum.
In the study, which appears in the June issue of the American Journal of Respiratory Care Medicine, researchers measured the exhaled breath of 14 people with lung cancer and 45 healthy individuals to develop the electronic nose’s screening capability.
Then they tested the device’s ability to detect lung cancer in another group of 14 people with lung cancer and 62 people without the disease.
Of the 14 lung cancer patients, 10 had a positive breath test and four had a negative result. Among the noncancer patients, 57 had a negative lung cancer breath test and five had a positive.
Researchers say that in this group of people with a rate of lung cancer of 18%, the test was 92% accurate in confirming those people that did not have lung cancer and 66% accurate in detecting those with lung cancer.
They say these results prove the feasibility of such an “electronic nose” test for lung cancer, but further research is needed to refine and develop effective strategies for using such a test.