New Breath and Urine Tests May Detect Early Breast Cancer More Accurately

Key Points

  • Researchers detected breast cancer with more than 95% average accuracy using an inexpensive commercial electronic nose that identifies unique breath patterns in women with breast cancer.
  • Revamped statistical analyses of urine samples submitted both by healthy patients and by those diagnosed with breast cancer yielded 85% average accuracy.

A new method for early, more accurate breast cancer screening has been developed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka University Medical Center using commercially available technology. Their findings were published by Herman-Saffar et al in Computers in Biology and Medicine.

Researchers were able to isolate relevant data to more accurately identify breast cancer biomarkers using two different electronic nose gas sensors for breath, along with gas chromatography–mass spectrometry to quantify substances found in urine.

Rates of Detection

Researchers detected breast cancer with more than 95% average accuracy using an inexpensive commercial electronic nose that identifies unique breath patterns in women with breast cancer. In addition, their revamped statistical analyses of urine samples submitted both by healthy patients and by those diagnosed with breast cancer yielded 85% average accuracy.

“Breast cancer survival is strongly tied to the sensitivity of tumor detection; accurate methods for detecting smaller, earlier tumors remains a priority,” said Yehuda Zeiri, PhD, a member of Ben-Gurion University's Department of Biomedical Engineering. “Our new approach utilizing urine and exhaled breath samples, analyzed with inexpensive, commercially available processes, is noninvasive, accessible, and may be easily implemented in a variety of settings.”  

Dr. Zeiri added, “We've now shown that inexpensive, commercial electronic noses are sufficient for classifying cancer patients at early stages. With further study, it may also be possible to analyze exhaled breath and urine samples to identify other cancer types as well.”

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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