1P - Detection of breast cancer and abnormal mammograms with a rapid point-of-care breath test

Date 08 May 2014
Event IMPAKT 2014
Session Welcome reception and Poster Walk
Topics Breast Cancer
Cancer Aetiology, Epidemiology, Prevention
Imaging, Diagnosis and Staging
Presenter Michael Phillips
Citation Annals of Oncology (2014) 25 (suppl_1): i1-i1. 10.1093/annonc/mdu061
Authors M. Phillips1, J.D. Beatty2, R.N. Cataneo1, J. Huston3, P.D. Kaplan1, R.I. Lalisang4, P. Lambin4, M.B.I. Lobbes4, M. Mundada1, N. Pappas3
  • 1Breath Research Laboratory, Menssana Research Inc, 07103 - Newark/US
  • 2Surgery, Swedish Cancer Institute, 98104 - Seattle/US
  • 3Surgery, Saint Michael's Medical Center, 07102 - Newark/US
  • 4Grow School Of Oncology And Developmental Biology, Maastricht University Medical Centre+,, 6229HX - Maastricht/NL



Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in breath have been reported as biomarkers of breast cancer and abnormal mammograms, apparently resulting from increased oxidative stress and cytochrome p450 induction. We evaluated a six-minute point-of-care breath VOC assay at three breast cancer screening centers in USA and the Netherlands.


244 women had a screening mammogram (93/37 normal/abnormal) or a breast biopsy (cancer/no cancer 35/79). A mobile point-of-care system collected and concentrated breath and air VOCs for analysis with gas chromatography and surface acoustic wave detection. Chromatograms were segmented into a time series of alveolar gradients (breath minus room air). Segmental alveolar gradients were ranked as candidate biomarkers by C-statistic value (area under curve [AUC] of receiver operating characteristic [ROC] curve). Multivariate predictive algorithms were constructed employing significant biomarkers identified with multiple Monte Carlo simulations and cross-validated with a leave-one-out (LOO) procedure.


Performance of breath biomarker algorithms was determined in three groups: breast cancer on biopsy versus normal screening mammograms (81.8% sensitivity, 70.0% specificity, accuracy 79% (73% on LOO) [C-statistic value], negative predictive value 99.9%); normal versus abnormal screening mammograms (86.5% sensitivity, 66.7% specificity, accuracy 83%, 62% on LOO); and cancer versus no cancer on breast biopsy (75.8% sensitivity, 74.0% specificity, accuracy 78%, 67% on LOO).


A pilot study of a six-minute point-of-care breath test for volatile biomarkers accurately identified women with breast cancer and with abnormal mammograms. A negative breath test might safely “rule out” breast cancer and reduce the number of needless mammograms without loss of diagnostic sensitivity.


M. Phillips: Michael Phillips is President and CEO of Menssana Research, Inc. Funded in part by National Institutes of Health grant 1R43RR030689-01, Dutch Pink Ribbon foundation and the CTMM framework (AIRFORCE project, grant 030-103) Foundation.

All other authors have declared no conflicts of interest.