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MDLinxIf a Breath Test Can Detect Colorectal Cancer, What Do These Noninvasive Tests Hold for the Future?

The technique, which is also being developed to detect cancers of the esophagus, stomach and pancreas, could be used as a triage tool due to its high negative predictive value.

In a significant stride towards early cancer detection, researchers have developed a non-invasive breath test that accurately detects colorectal cancer (CRC). This innovative approach, based on volatile organic compounds (VOCs), could revolutionize the way we diagnose and manage gastrointestinal cancers.

HCN Medical Memo
Is a potential paradigm shift emerging? The non-invasive nature of the breath test could lead to increased patient compliance and timely diagnosis, particularly for CRC. This could significantly improve survival rates and reduce the burden on healthcare systems.

Key Points

  • The breath test is non-invasive, easy to complete, and universally acceptable to patients.
  • The 5-year survival rate of CRC is 92% when diagnosed early, but drops to 10% if diagnosed at an advanced stage.
  • The COBRA1 trial developed a breath test to detect CRC using machine learning to identify VOCs and clinical metadata.
  • The diagnostic model predicted CRC with an area under the receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve of 0.87, sensitivity of 79%, specificity of 86%, and negative predictive value of 97%.
  • Wearable devices designed as face masks have been tested for the detection of hydrogen peroxide, a biomarker for respiratory illnesses.

According to the World Health Organization, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide, with nearly 1.8 million new cases in 2018.

More on Colorectal Cancer (CRC)

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