New Test to Detect Lung Cancer from Patient’s Breath

A new study has found a simple way to detect lung cancer and how advanced it is. All that the test takes to diagnose lung cancer is to examine a patient's breath. The test is not only meant to find signs of lung cancer, but
also reveal whether or not the patient is suffering from chronic, noncancerous lung conditions.

The researchers developed a device capable of smelling lung cancer when patients blow into a balloon. Specific compounds, produced by cancer cells, enter the blood stream and changes occur in patient's blood chemistry and breath.

Dubbed as NaNose, the new device is made of gold nanoparticles. It is designed to be extremely sensitive in order to precisely sniff out the compounds present in the breath of people who have lung cancer.

The device derived accurate result when tested on 80 lung cancer patients and 31 patients who had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is the term used for a wide range of lung conditions that make the patient experience shortness of breath and coughing.

The device proved to be highly accurate about 85% of the time in distinguishing lung cancer patients from COPD. Also, the test helped in distinguishing accurately about 79% of times between lung cancer patients who were at an early age of the disease and those who had advanced lung cancer.

The details of the new test were discussed at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology in Chicago from May 30 to June 3.

"This could totally revolutionize lung cancer screening and diagnosis. The perspective here is the development of a nontraumatic, easy, cheap approach to early detection and differentiation of lung cancer", said study researcher Dr. Fred Hirsch, a Professor of medical oncology at the University of Colorado's School of Medicine.