PloS one

Exhaled breath analysis for lung cancer detection using ion mobility spectrometry.

PMID 25490772


Conventional methods for lung cancer detection including computed tomography (CT) and bronchoscopy are expensive and invasive. Thus, there is still a need for an optimal lung cancer detection technique. The exhaled breath of 50 patients with lung cancer histologically proven by bronchoscopic biopsy samples (32 adenocarcinomas, 10 squamous cell carcinomas, 8 small cell carcinomas), were analyzed using ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) and compared with 39 healthy volunteers. As a secondary assessment, we compared adenocarcinoma patients with and without epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation. A decision tree algorithm could separate patients with lung cancer including adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and small cell carcinoma. One hundred-fifteen separated volatile organic compound (VOC) peaks were analyzed. Peak-2 noted as n-Dodecane using the IMS database was able to separate values with a sensitivity of 70.0% and a specificity of 89.7%. Incorporating a decision tree algorithm starting with n-Dodecane, a sensitivity of 76% and specificity of 100% was achieved. Comparing VOC peaks between adenocarcinoma and healthy subjects, n-Dodecane was able to separate values with a sensitivity of 81.3% and a specificity of 89.7%. Fourteen patients positive for EGFR mutation displayed a significantly higher n-Dodecane than for the 14 patients negative for EGFR (p<0.01), with a sensitivity of 85.7% and a specificity of 78.6%. In this prospective study, VOC peak patterns using a decision tree algorithm were useful in the detection of lung cancer. Moreover, n-Dodecane analysis from adenocarcinoma patients might be useful to discriminate the EGFR mutation.