Assessment of ovarian cancer conditions from exhaled breath

Haitham Amal, Da You Shi, Radu Ionescu, Wei Zhang, Qing Ling Hua, Yue Yin Pan, Li Tao, Hu Liu*, Hossam Haick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


We present a pilot study that aims to examine the possibility to easily and noninvasively detect and discriminate females with ovarian cancer (OC) from females that have no tumor(s) and from females that have benign genital tract neoplasia, using exhaled breath samples. The study is based on clinical samples and data from 182 females, as follows: 48 females with OC, 48 tumor-free controls and 86 females with benign gynecological neoplasia. Analysis of the breath samples with gas chromatography linked with mass spectrometry shows that decanal, nonanal, styrene, 2-butanone and hexadecane could serve as potential volatile markers for OC. Analysis of the same samples with tailor-made nanoarrays shows good discrimination between females with OC and females that have either no tumor or benign genital tract neoplasia (71% for accuracy, sensitivity and specificity). Conversely, the nanoarray output shows excellent discrimination between the OC patients and the tumor-free controls (79% sensitivity, 100% specificity and 89% accuracy). These results suggest that the nanoarray approach might be useful to avoid unnecessary complicated or expensive tests for tumor-free females in case of a negative result. In the case of positive result, the test will indicate with high probability the presence of OC.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)E614-E622
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 UICC.


  • Breath
  • Diagnosis
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Sensor
  • Volatile organic compound


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