Researchers Identify Stomach Cancers With Breath Test

A new type of breath test that detects nanoparticles could help diagnose stomach cancers, according to a study.

AsianScientist (Mar. 11, 2013) – A new type of breath test that detects nanoparticles could help diagnose stomach cancers, according to a study published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Scientists from the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel and Anhui Medical University in Hefei, China took breath samples from 130 patients with a range of different stomach complaints as well as those with stomach cancers.

They found that nanomaterial sensors had over a 90 percent success rate at differentiating between stomach cancers and more benign conditions. The nanomaterial sensors were also more than 90 percent accurate at detecting the difference between early and late stage gastric cancers.

The sensors detect biomarkers – a chemical profile that is associated with specific stomach complaints or types of cancer – in the air people exhaled.

The researchers hope the breath test could be used as an alternative to upper digestive endoscopy with biopsy and histopathological evaluation of the biopsy material, an accurate but more invasive procedure that is the standard method for diagnosing stomach cancers.

“The promising findings from this early study suggest that using a breath test to diagnose stomach cancers, as well as more benign complaints, could be a future alternative to endoscopies – which can be costly and time consuming, as well as unpleasant to the patient,” said Professor Hossam Haick, lead researcher from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

More trials are needed to validate the team’s findings, said Haick, who added that the team is already working on a larger-scale clinical trial.

“Around 7,000 people develop stomach cancer in the UK each year and most of these are in their advanced stages when they are diagnosed. But if found to be accurate enough the nanomaterial breath test presents a new possibility for screening a population for stomach cancer, which would hopefully lead to earlier diagnosis of the disease,” he said.

The article can be found at: Xu Z-q et al. (2013) A nanomaterial-based breath test for distinguishing gastric cancer from benign gastric conditions.


Source: Cancer Research UK; Photo: lenchensmama/Flickr/CC.
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