Study: Breath Test May Help Detect Lung Cancer

ORLANDO, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – A new study has found that a simple breath test might help detect if a person has lung cancer.

Exhaled breath of people with suspicious lung lesions that were detected on CT scans were tested by researchers who were looking for levels of four cancer specific substances called “carbonyls,” HealthDay reported.

Researchers found that having increased levels of three of the four carbonyls was predicative of lung cancer in 95 percent of patients.  Also, 80 percent of patients who had normal levels of those substances was predictive of a noncancerous growth.

After patients had surgery to remove the cancer, the elevated carbonyl levels returned to normal, according to the study.

“Instead of sending patients for invasive biopsy procedures when a suspicious lung mass is identified, our study suggests that exhaled breath could identify which patients” may be referred for immediate surgery, study author Dr. Michael Bousamra, of the University of Louisville, said in a society news release.

Bousamra added that “the simplicity of sample collection and ease for the patient” offers a new approach in detecting lung cancer.

The study was presented at the Society of Thoracic Surgeons annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.


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