Mesothelioma may be detected early by breath screening

Last Updated on October 27, 2016 by

Mesothelioma may be detected early by breath screening

Scientists in Belgium are saying there’s a chance that Mesothelioma may be detected early by breath screening.

A new breath analysis tool could detect early signs of mesothelioma in those people who used to work with asbestos as part of their job.

Breath analysis tests were carried out by doctors on 66 patients at Ghent University, 23 of whom had malignant mesothelioma.

The scientists used something called multi-capillary column-ion mobility spectrometry.

This machine measures the levels and types of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the breath exhaled by the patient being tested.

Anyone suffering from mesothelioma, or that has been exposed to asbestos, will breathe out different levels of VOCs than a healthy person that has never been exposed to asbestos.

Breath analysis testing was conducted on 23 people that have pleural mesothelioma.

22 people who had previously worked with asbestos, but had no symptoms of mesothelioma, were also tested.

And to conclude, another 21 people who had never been exposed to asbestos before were tested.

The testing that was conducted was supposedly 76% accurate at identifying between the mesothelioma patients, those who had been exposed to asbestos and those that never had.

Tests were 87% accurate when identifying between people exposed to asbestos and those suffering with mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Screening 

It is really difficult and virtually impossible to detect mesothelioma in it’s early stages, as it takes so long to develop any visible symptoms.

At the moment, there is no known or trusted way to screen for mesothelioma, but this new technology does offer some hope for the future say researchers.

In the ‘Journal of Breath Research’, the study is summarised as follows, “Breath analysis by MCC/IMS allows malignant pleural mesothelioma patients to be discriminated from controls and holds promise for further investigation as a screening tool for former asbestos exposed persons at risk of developing malignant pleural mesothelioma.”


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Published Oct 11, 2016

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