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Early Detection of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Using Exhaled Breath Markers

Michael McCulloch at Pine Street Foundation
Study abstract

Epithelial ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women. Early diagnosis is the most important step toward reducing morbidity and mortality from epithelial ovarian cancer. Our laboratories have developed preliminary data suggesting that exhaled breath condensate may provide an important source of biomarkers diagnostic of ovarian cancer. Our primary hypothesis is that using patients with epithelial ovarian cancer can be readily distinguished from both healthy controls and endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome controls, using solely analysis of exhaled breath condensate. We propose this distinction can be made using both sophisticated chemical analysis (GC/FT-ICR MS) and a biological method (canine scent detection).

Study review

This study, a collaboration between the University of Maine and the Pine Street Foundation in San Anselmo, Calif., is using specially trained dogs and a chemical test to analyze women's breath samples with the goal of identifying biological markers (biomarkers) that could be used to diagnose ovarian cancer. The researchers had previously tried to identify biomarkers in breath samples that could be used to diagnose breast and lung cancer. The researchers wanted to enroll 30 volunteers. The Call to Action for this study was sent to Army of Women members on July 21, 2010. The researchers were able to close enrollment on August 6, 2012, after the Army of Women provided them with 55 women who were interested in participating in the study.