Researchers from the Imperial College of London have developed a non-invasive breakthrough breath test that detects the Oesophageal and Gastric cancer with 85 percent accuracy. The breath test can be used for the early diagnosis of cancer in the future. Early detection of cancer is critical for the successful treatment and improves the survival rates of patients. In the majority of the cases, Cancers are diagnosed in the advanced stages and thereby lowers the survival rates of the patients. Cancer has been the focal point of research for quite some time now. Although the causes of cancer are not well established some foods and common medications are found to enhance the risk and spread of cancer. Recently scientists have come up with novel methods for the early diagnosis and these methods range from diagnostic pill to artificial mole.
Currently the oesophageal and gastric cancers are detected in the advanced stages of the disease once the symptoms start to appear. So, the survival rate of the patients is as low as 15 percent in these cases. Doctors follow endoscopy for the detection of oesophageal and gastric cancer. The procedure involved injecting a tube through the mouth and gullet and the tube features a probe fitted with a bulb and video camera at the end. The method is invasive, and only 2 percent of the patients are diagnosed with oesophageal and gastric cancer. Further, the procedure is costly and cucumbersome to diagnose a large number of patients.
The current breath test looks for chemical compounds in the exhaled breath of the patients. Patients suffering from oesophageal and gastric cancers produce a distinctive smell that contains unique volatile organic compounds. Researchers then use analytical instrument Mass spectrometry to identify and quantify the number of volatile compounds in the breath samples. In the current study, researchers analysed the breath samples of 335 patients from Royal Marsden Foundation NHS trust and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust between 2015-16. Among the total 335 number of patients analysed 163 have been diagnosed with either oesophageal or gastric cancer, and the remaining 172 number of patients tested negative. The team is now looking to conduct larger clinical trials and also check whether the test can detect other cancers in the body.
The Research study is published in the Journal JAMA Oncology