Local News
1:41 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

U of L Scientists Develop Breath Test for Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Researchers at the University of Louisville have developed a test that uses a person’s exhaled breath to diagnose early stage lung cancer in patients with suspicious lesions.

Dr. Michael Bousamra and his colleagues found that elevated levels of certain compounds in a patients’ breath were predictive of lung cancer in 95 percent of cases.  The absence of the compounds was predictive of a benign mass in 80 percent of patients’ lungs.

Dr. Bousamra says breath analysis has been used for years to diagnose diseases, but this test is much more specific.

"It’s one thing to have someone with advanced cancer and to recognize that their breath smells different or is abnormal. That’s been known for a long time. People have been able to analyze the breath of cancer patients for at least the past decade or decade and a half and indicate chemical differences," he said. 

Bousamra says it's hoped that this approach could become a more common alternative to the more invasive biopsy procedure.