Mesothelioma: diagnosis by breath analysis

The result of the work of a group of Italian and Danish scientists described in the latest issue of the online magazine «Lung Cancer» was the so-called "electronic nose". This revolutionary device can detect the presence of pleural mesothelioma in the analysis of human breathing.

Mesothelioma – a rare malignancy originating, which appear from the special cells and are contained in the serous membranes. As a rule the mesothelioma is localized in the visceral and parietal pleura, rarely on the peritoneum, pericardium and serosa testicle. Major risk factor for pleural mesothelioma is considered exposure to asbestos.

The only treatment for mesothelioma today is surgery, often in combination with radiation and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, even with this prediction, which is usually ranging from questionable to negative, there is largely possibility to have negative results in managing the mesothelioma due to the complexity and the late diagnosis. It happens because of mesothelioma can develop for many years without symptoms and is often found in very late stages. At the present time to identify the tumor it is necessary to conduct a laparoscopy and laparotomy for a detailed study of tissue or fluid.

Scientists from the respiratory department of the University of Bari in Italy, and Department of Medicine of airway of the Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam in Denmark are hoping that their "electronic nose" or Cyranose 320 (the so-called new device for the analysis of exhaled air) will significantly simplify the diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma.

Although yet to test the new device was attended just 39 people – 13 diagnosed with mesothelioma (median age 61 years), 13 healthy people who are constantly working with asbestos-containing materials (mean age 52 years) and 13 healthy people with no exposure to asbestos (mean age 68 years), the first test of the "electronic nose" gave very encouraging results. Thus, the Cyranose 320 could correctly identify 80% of people which there just long worked with asbestos and who have formed a malignant mesothelioma, as well as up to 85% was separated from healthy people with mesothelioma.

The scientists repeated the experiment for several times, and the accuracy has not been changed.

If further, more extensive experiments will show at least a high accuracy, the "electronic nose" promises to be the world's first non-contact (and thus totally safe) way to diagnose pleural mesothelioma.

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