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The Use of Selected Ion Flow Tube-Mass Spectrometry Technology to Identify Breath Volatile Organic Compounds for the Detection of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Pilot Study

1
Discipline of Surgery, College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University, Adelaide 5042, Australia
2
Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, Flinders University, Adelaide 5042, South Australia
3
Flinders Center for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Flinders University, Adelaide 5042, South Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Medicina 2019, 55(6), 306; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55060306
Received: 28 April 2019 / Revised: 17 June 2019 / Accepted: 20 June 2019 / Published: 25 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Advances in the Treatment of Sinus and Nasal Diseases)
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Abstract

Background: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most common form of cancer worldwide, with approximately 630,000 new cases diagnosed each year. The development of low-cost and non-invasive tools for the detection of HNSCC using volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the breath could potentially improve patient care. The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility of selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS) technology to identify breath VOCs for the detection of HNSCC. Materials and Methods: Breath samples were obtained from HNSCC patients (N = 23) and healthy volunteers (N = 21). Exhaled alveolar breath samples were collected into FlexFoil® PLUS (SKC Limited, Dorset, UK) sampling bags from newly diagnosed, histologically confirmed, untreated patients with HNSCC and from non-cancer participants. Breath samples were analyzed by Selected Ion Flow Tube-Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS) (Syft Technologies, Christchurch, New Zealand) using Selective Ion Mode (SIM) scans that probed for 91 specific VOCs that had been previously reported as breath biomarkers of HNSCC and other malignancies. Results: Of the 91 compounds analyzed, the median concentration of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) was significantly higher in the HNSCC group (2.5 ppb, 1.6–4.4) compared to the non-cancer group (1.1 ppb, 0.9–1.3; Benjamini–Hochberg adjusted p < 0.05). A receiver operating curve (ROC) analysis showed an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.801 (95% CI, 0.65952–0.94296), suggesting moderate accuracy of HCN in distinguishing HNSCC from non-cancer individuals. There were no statistically significant differences in the concentrations of the other compounds of interest that were analyzed. Conclusions: This pilot study demonstrated the feasibility of SIFT-MS technology to identify VOCs for the detection of HNSCC. View Full-Text
Keywords: breath test; head and neck cancer; neoplasms head and neck; cancer screening; cancer screening tests; volatile organic compounds breath test; head and neck cancer; neoplasms head and neck; cancer screening; cancer screening tests; volatile organic compounds
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Chandran, D.; Ooi, E.H.; Watson, D.I.; Kholmurodova, F.; Jaenisch, S.; Yazbeck, R. The Use of Selected Ion Flow Tube-Mass Spectrometry Technology to Identify Breath Volatile Organic Compounds for the Detection of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Pilot Study. Medicina 2019, 55, 306.

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