Identification of profiles of volatile organic compounds in exhaled breath by means of an electronic nose as a proposal for a screening method for breast cancer: a case-control study

Lorena Díaz de León-Martínez, Maribel Rodriguez-Aguilar, Patricia Gorocica-Rosete, Carlos Alberto Domínguez Reyes, Verónica Martínez Bustos, Juan Alberto Tenorio-Torres, Omar Ornelas-Rebolledo, José Alfonso Cruz Ramos, Berenice Balderas-Segura, Rogelio Flores-Ramírez
Journal of Breath Research 2020 July 22

AIM: The objective of the present study was to identify volatile prints from exhaled breath, termed breath-print, from breast cancer (BC) patients and healthy women by means of an electronic nose and to evaluate its potential use as a screening method.

METHOD: A cross-sectional study was performed on 443 exhaled breath samples from women, of whom 262 had been diagnosed with BC by biopsy and 181 were healthy women (control group). Breath-print analysis was performed utilizing the Cyranose 320 electronic nose. Group data were evaluated by Principal Component Analysis (PCA), Canonical Discriminant Analysis (CDA), and Support Vector Machine (SVM), and the test's diagnostic power was evaluated by means of ROC (Receiver Operating Characteristic) curves.

RESULTS: The results obtained using the model generated from the CDA, which best describes the behavior of the assessed groups, indicated that the breath-print of BC patients was different from that of healthy women and that they presented with a variability of up to 98.8% and a correct classification of 98%. The sensitivity, specificity, negative predictive value, and positive predictive value reached 100% according to the ROC curve.

CONCLUSION: The present study demonstrates the capability of the electronic nose to separate between healthy subjects and BC patients. This research could have a beneficial impact on clinical practice as we consider that this test could probably be used at the first point before the application of established gold tests (mammography, ultrasound, and biopsy) and substantially improve screening tests in the general population.

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