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Breath analysis may detect lung cancer

2 May 2014 No Comment

Researchers at the University of Louisville School of Medicine are now using breath analysis to detect the presence of lung cancer.

Preliminary data indicate that this promising noninvasive tool offers the sensitivity of PET scanning, and has almost twice the specificity of PET for distinguishing patients with benign lung disease from those with early stage cancer.

Michael Bousamra II, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, presented the results of the study at the AATS 2014 Conference on April 29, 2014.

A reliable, noninvasive diagnostic method imposes less physical and financial burden on patients who actually have no significant disease, while rapid and accurate diagnosis expedites treatment for patients who truly have lung cancer.

The team believes that while the breath test would not replace CT as a primary screening tool, it would be particularly helpful in conjunction with a positive CT scan result.

“This breath analysis method presents the potential for a cheaper and more reliable diagnostic option for patients found to have bulky disease on a CT scan. If the breath analysis is negative, the patient may, in some instances, be followed with repeated exams without necessitating a biopsy. But a positive breath analysis would indicate that the patient may proceed to definitive biopsy, thus expediting treatment,” Dr. Bousamra said.

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