Volatile Organic Compounds Analysis in Breath Air in Healthy Volunteers and Patients Suffering Epidermoid Laryngeal Carcinomas


Exhaled breath contains thousands of gaseous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may be used as non-invasive markers of head and neck epidermoid cancer. We hypothesized that solid phase micro-extraction coupled to gas chromatography–mass spectrometry can discriminate patients with epidermoid head and neck cancer from healthy controls by analyzing the gaseous volatile organic compounds, VOC-profile, in exhaled breath, thus identifying some non-invasive biomarkers to be used in early detection. Twenty healthy subjects participated in a cross-sectional study plus 11 patients with epidermoid supraglottic laryngeal cancer. VOCs from T3 supraglottic cancer were clustered distinctly from those of T1 and healthy subjects. Up to seven VOCs were detected differently from healthy volunteers, mainly 2-butanone and ethanol. Thus VOC-patterns of exhaled breath may discriminate patients with epidermoid head and neck cancer from healthy controls.

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We would like to thank all the participants in our study, especially those who are suffering from cancer. The financial support of Fundación Mútua Madrileña and the Spanish government (CTQ2008-05909/PPQ and CTQ2011-22707 projects) is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Rafael A. García.

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García, R.A., Morales, V., Martín, S. et al. Volatile Organic Compounds Analysis in Breath Air in Healthy Volunteers and Patients Suffering Epidermoid Laryngeal Carcinomas. Chromatographia 77, 501–509 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10337-013-2611-7

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  • GC–MS
  • SPME
  • VOCs
  • Laryngeal carcinoma
  • Biomarkers