Breath test developed to detect head and neck cancer

Australian researchers collect respiratory samples from 181 patients with suspected squamous cell carcinoma

head and neck early stage (HNSCC) prior to treatment.

“We aimed to define a diagnosticthe accuracy of breath analysis as a non-invasive test for head and neck cancer detection. Over time, it may lead to a simple method for improving treatment outcomes and patient morbidity, ”said lead researchers Dr. Roger Yazbek and his colleague, Professor Eng Ooi.

The rise in human papillomavirus (HPV) -related head and neck cancers is affecting a much younger population, the researchers said.

The Australian study usedmass spectrometer for analyzing respiration for volatile organic compounds. Using statistical modeling, Flinders's researchers were able to develop a breath test that could differentiate cancer and control (benign) patients with an average sensitivity and specificity of 85%.

The diagnosis was confirmed by tissue biopsy analysis.

“With these results, we hope to testthe method in primary care settings such as general practice clinics to further develop its use in the early stages of HNSCC screening in the community, ”concludes the article's co-lead author, Dr. Nuwan Dharmavardana.

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