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Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and chronic pancreatitis may be diagnosed by exhaled-breath profiles: a multicenter pilot study

Authors Uslu HI, Dölle AR, Dullemen HM, Aktas H, Kolkman JJ, Venneman NG

Received 10 October 2018

Accepted for publication 9 July 2019

Published 14 August 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 385—390

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CEG.S189102

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Nicola Ludin

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Anastasios Koulaouzidis


HI Uslu,1,2 AR Dölle,1 HM Dullemen,2 H Aktas,3 JJ Kolkman,1,2 NG Venneman1

1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Medisch Spectrum Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands; 2Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), Groningen, The Netherlands; 3Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Ziekenhuisgroep Twente (ZGT), Almelo, The Netherlands

Background: The diagnosis of pancreatic adenocarcinoma and chronic pancreatitis often rely on expensive and invasive diagnostic approaches, which are not always discriminative since patients with chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic adenocarcinoma may present with similar symptoms. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in expired breath, could be used as a non-invasive diagnostic biological marker for detection of pancreatic pathology. Detection and discrimination of pancreatic pathology with an electronic nose has not yet been reported.
Purpose: The objective of this pilot study was to determine the diagnostic potential of an electronic nose to identify pancreatic adenocarcinoma and chronic pancreatitis by analyzing volatile organic compoundg (VOC) profiles in exhaled air.
Patients and methods: In a multicenter study, the exhaled air of 56 chronic pancreatitis patients, 29 pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients, and 74 disease controls were analyzed using an electronic nose based on 3 metal oxide sensors (MOS). The measurements were evaluated utilizing an artificial neural network.
Results: VOC profiles of chronic pancreatitis patients could be discriminated from disease controls with an accuracy of 0.87 (AUC 0.95, sensitivity 80%, specificity 92%). Also, VOC profiles of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma differed from disease controls with an accuracy of 0.83 (AUC 0.87, sensitivity 83%, specificity 82%). Discrimination between chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic adenocarcinoma showed an accuracy of 0.75 (AUC 0.83, sensitivity 83%, specificity 71%).
Conclusion: An electronic nose may be a valuable diagnostic tool in diagnosis of pancreatic adenocarcinoma and chronic pancreatitis. The current study shows the potential of an electronic nose for discriminating between chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic adenocarcinoma and healthy controls. The results from this proof-of-concept study warrant external validation in larger cohorts.

Keywords: pancreatic adenocarcinoma, chronic pancreatitis, electronic nose, exhaled breath

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