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Body fluid odor test may lead to earlier lung cancer diagnosis

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

According to a new study, body fluid odors can be used to identify animals with lung cancer tumors, which may help scientists develop a roadmap to identify diagnostic biomarkers in human lung cancer patients.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine were able to train sensor mice to recognize the scent of urine from animals bearing lung cancer tumors and differentiate it from the body fluids of healthy animals.

After analyzing each animal's waste, scientists found that numerous chemical compounds in the urine differed between healthy and tumor-bearing mammals. Researchers discovered that fewer of the compounds were found in animals suffering lung cancer.

Using a classification system based on these chemical biomarkers, scientists were able to accurately identify cancerous tumors in 47 out of 50 subjects involved in the study.

"Using the same chemical approaches as in this [study], we hope to be able to detect odors in urine of smokers that could be used to identify lung cancer at a very early stage," said senior author Steven Albelda.

Lung cancer is currently the world's leading cause of cancer-related death.

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