Mesothelioma Diagnosis May Be Possible Through Breath Test: Study
Researchers from the Netherlands say they may have developed a method that could be used to detect and diagnose mesothelioma lung cancer using a breath test.
Researchers at the University of Amsterdam Medical Center report that they used a device called the Cyranose 320 to tell the difference between healthy people, people suffering from mesothelioma and people who had long-term asbestos exposure, but no mesothelioma, by having them breath into an “electronic nose”.
If confirmed, the device could lead to substantial changes in how mesothelioma is diagnosed. The findings were published in the medical journal Lung Cancer.
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Exposure to asbestos can cause the development of mesothelioma. Lawsuits have been filed nationwide against asbestos manufacturers.Learn More About this Lawsuit
Currently, the most common method of diagnosing mesothelioma is called a thorascopic biopsy, which uses a thin tube that is inserted into the chest through an incision to obtain a tissue sample. However, it carries a risk of collapsing a lung, hemorrhaging, embolism, subcutaneous emphysema and hemoptysis, particularly for elderly patients. Because mesothelioma has a long latency period, sometimes taking decades to appear after exposure, many people being diagnosed for the illness are elderly.
The machine examined in the new study makes a breathprint from the subject’s exhaled breath that sorts through the volatile organic compounds. These breathprints can then be analyzed to determine whether the subject has mesothelioma.
The researchers looked at 13 patients who had confirmed cases of malignant pleural mesothelioma, 13 healthy subjects and 13 people who had long-term asbestos exposure, but no signs of mesothelioma. The accuracy of the device was 80% in sorting patients with mesothelioma from those who only had long-term asbestos exposure. The machine was 85% accurate in detecting patients with mesothelioma from those who were completely healthy.
The researchers said the device could be developed into a non-invasive, safe and effective way to diagnose mesothelioma, lowering the risk of complications for the elderly.
Mesothelioma, which is found in the lining of the chest and lungs, is only known to occur as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers. The disease has a very long latency period and is often not discovered until decades after exposure, leading to a limited life expectancy after a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Asbestos was widely used in a variety of manufacturing and construction applications throughout the last century, with use peaking in 1973. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can cause a number of serious and potentially fatal long-term health problems, such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Asbestos litigation is the longest running mass tort in U.S. history, with the first case filed in 1929. Over 600,000 people have filed lawsuits against 6,000 defendants after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases.
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