Chinese scientists develop cancer breath test

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 13, 2016
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Chinese scientists have developed a device which may instantly detect esophageal cancer by breath analysis.

In a recent experiment, scientists with Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, used a device known as proton transfer reaction mass spectrometer to analyze breath samples of 29 esophageal cancer patients and 58 healthy volunteers.

Seven kinds of ions were found to be able to distinguish the cancer patients from the healthy testees. In the breath of cancer patients, the median intensity of five ions decrease while the intensities of another two increased. More are needed to confirm the findings.

The current spectrometry takes only three minutes and the accuracy has reached 85 to 90 percent.

In China, esophageal cancer kills about 370,000 people a year. Both the prevalence and the death rate of esophageal cancer in China are among the highest in the world. Common screening methods contain barium meals, computed tomography scans, endoscopy, and lab testing of biopsy samples. However, these invasive methods are not suitable for regular health exams or the very vulnerable.

Non-invasive screening methods like breath spectrometry will help in early detection and intervention, lowering the death rate.

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