Compounds in breath may signal chances of developing deadly disease, researchers say
WebMD News from HealthDay
By Steven Reinberg
MONDAY, April 13, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A new breath test may one day help spot the earliest signs of stomach cancer, a small trial from Israel suggests.
This novel technology senses small changes in the levels of particular compounds in exhaled breath, and accurately identifies changes that signal the development of disease, the researchers said. If the findings are confirmed in larger trials, the test might be a noninvasive way to screen those who are at high risk for stomach cancer, they added.
"Our study is based on the hypothesis that detection of precancerous lesions may provide a tool to decrease either cancer deaths or incidence [of stomach cancer]," said lead researcher Hossam Haick, head of the laboratory for nanomaterial-based devices and volatile biomarkers at the Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
Stomach cancer develops in a series of well-defined steps, but there is no effective, reliable and noninvasive screening test for detecting these changes early, Haick said. "Most people are diagnosed when it's too late to save their lives," he said.
"Currently, there is no perfect noninvasive tool to screen for stomach cancer," he said. "Small and inexpensive sensing technology could be developed and used to fulfill these clinical needs."
The new test uses nanotechnology that analyzes a set of atoms called nanoarrays. In this case, the array includes atoms from breath samples and the computer looks for the amount of specific compounds that are linked to stomach cancer. Nanoarray analysis is accurate, simple and inexpensive, the researchers said.
"A large trial with thousands of patients, including people with stomach cancer or pre-cancer, is now underway in Europe," Haick noted.
The report was published online April 13 in the journal Gut.
Christine Metz, director of the laboratory of medicinal biochemistry at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y., said, "Stomach cancer is rare in the United States, so it's difficult to do routine screening knowing that our screening method is endoscopy, which is an invasive test."
According to the American Cancer Society, about 24,590 cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed this year in the United States, and some 10,720 people will die from the disease.
source : Breath Test Might Spot Stomach Cancer Risk