Every year, 1.4 million people are diagnosed with this type of cancer. In this case, the diagnosis because of ambiguous symptoms often put too late. A new study involving more than 300 patients showed that the test can diagnose the disease with an accuracy of 85%.
Dr. Sheraz Markar from Imperial College London, led by Professor George Hanna in Congress, said: "Currently, the only way to diagnose cancer of the esophagus or stomach - it endoscopy. This method is expensive, invasive, and carries the risk of complications. Breath test can be used as a noninvasive test, reducing the number of endoscopy. In the long term, this means early diagnosis, treatment and better survival. "
The study is based on the results of previous studies that have indicated the differences in the levels of specific chemicals between patients with gastrointestinal symptoms without cancer, and patients with cancer. The research team collected breath samples of 335 people, of whom 163 were diagnosed with cancer of the stomach or esophageal cancer and 172 did not show any signs of cancer by endoscopy.
All samples were analyzed using a method which can accurately measure small amounts of various chemical substances in a mixture of gases such as air. The researchers measured the levels of five chemicals in each sample to see which ones are the same as "chemical signature" indicative of cancer.
Dr. Markar said: "Since cancer cells differ from healthy, they produce different mixtures of chemicals. The study shows that we can detect these differences and use breath tests to indicate which patients have the risk of esophageal cancer. However, these data need to be confirmed in a larger sample of patients before the test to be used in clinics. "
Over the next three years, scientists will continue to study on patients undergoing endoscopy for the detection of gastrointestinal symptoms, but which has not yet been diagnosed with cancer. This will allow to evaluate the test work in cases where there is a small percentage of cancer.
A team of experts working on breathing tests for other types of cancer, such as colorectal cancer and cancer of the pancreas, which can be used as first-line test in general surgery practices.