• Profile

Cheap breath test may detect stomach, oesophageal cancers

IANS Jan 30, 2017

Scientists have developed a cheap and non-invasive test that can measure the levels of five chemicals in the breath to detect cancers of the oesophagus and stomach with 85 per cent accuracy.


Together, stomach and oesophageal cancer account for around 1.4 million new cancer diagnoses each year worldwide.

Both tend to be diagnosed late, because the symptoms are ambiguous, meaning the five-year survival rate for these two types of cancer is only 15 per cent.

Currently, the only way to diagnose oesophageal cancer or stomach cancer is with endoscopy -- an expensive, invasive method with some risk of complications.

"A breath test could be used as a non-invasive, first-line test to reduce the number of unnecessary endoscopies. In the longer term this could also mean earlier diagnosis and treatment and better survival," said Sheraz Markar from Imperial College London.

Previous research suggested that there are differences in the levels of specific chemicals -- butyric, pentanoic and hexanoic acids, butanal, and decanal -- in patients with stomach or oesophageal cancer and patients with upper gastrointestinal symptoms without cancer.

In the new study, presented at the European Cancer Congress 2017 in The Netherlands, the team collected breath samples from 335 people, who were measured for levels of the five chemicals to see which ones matched to the 'chemical signature' that indicated cancer.

The results showed that the test was 85 per cent accurate overall, meaning that the breath test was good at picking up those who had cancer (80 per cent sensitivity) and was also good at correctly identifying who did not have cancer (81 per cent specificity).

"This study suggests that we may be able detect these differences and use a breath test to indicate which patients are likely to have cancer of the oesophagus and stomach and which do not," Markar said.


Only Doctors with an M3 India account can read this article. Sign up for free or login with your existing account.
4 reasons why Doctors love M3 India
  • Exclusive Write-ups & Webinars by KOLs

  • Nonloggedininfinity icon
    Daily Quiz by specialty
  • Nonloggedinlock icon
    Paid Market Research Surveys
  • Case discussions, News & Journals' summaries
Sign-up / Log In
M3 app logo
Choose easy access to M3 India from your mobile!

M3 instruc arrow
Add M3 India to your Home screen
Tap  Chrome menu  and select "Add to Home screen" to pin the M3 India App to your Home screen