A new way for early and more accurate breast cancer screening using only commercially available technology has been developed by Israeli researchers at Ben-Gurion University and Soroka University Medical Center.
The researchers said their methods were able to isolate relevant data with more than 95 percent average accuracy identify breast cancer biomarkers. They used two different inexpensive commercial electronic noses (e-nose) that identified unique breath patterns in women with breast cancer. they used it along with gas-chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to analyze substances found in urine. In addition, their revamped statistical analyses of urine samples submitted by both healthy patients and those diagnosed with breast cancer yielded 85 percent average accuracy the researchers said.
In their study published in Computers in Biology and Medicine, Prof. Yehuda Zeiri, a member of Ben-Gurion University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering said “Breast cancer survival is strongly tied to the sensitivity of tumor detection; accurate methods for detecting smaller, earlier tumors remains a priority. Our new approach utilizing urine and exhaled breath samples, analyzed with inexpensive, commercially available processes, is non-invasive, accessible and may be easily implemented in a variety of settings.”
Breast cancer is the world’s most common cancer in women, and the leading cause of death after lung cancer, and skin cancer. In 2016, breast cancer accounted for 29 percent of all new cancers identified in the United States, and was responsible for 14 percent of all cancer-related deaths.
Mammography screenings, which are proven to significantly reduce breast cancer mortality, are not always able to detect small tumors in dense breast tissue. In fact, typical mammography sensitivity, which is 75 to 85 percent accurate, decreases to 30 to 50 percent in dense tissue.
Current diagnostic imaging detection for smaller tumors has significant drawbacks: dual-energy digital mammography, while effective, increases radiation exposure, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is expensive. Biopsies and serum biomarker identification processes are invasive, equipment-intensive and require significant expertise.
“We’ve now shown that inexpensive, commercial electronic noses are sufficient for classifying cancer patients at early stages,” says Prof. Zeiri. “With further study, it may also be possible to analyze exhaled breath and urine samples to identify other cancer types, as well.”