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Original article
Detection of precancerous gastric lesions and gastric cancer through exhaled breath
  1. Haitham Amal1,
  2. Marcis Leja2,3,4,
  3. Konrads Funka2,3,4,
  4. Roberts Skapars2,3,
  5. Armands Sivins2,3,
  6. Guntis Ancans2,3,
  7. Inta Liepniece-Karele2,3,5,
  8. Ilze Kikuste2,4,
  9. Ieva Lasina2,
  10. Hossam Haick1
  1. 1Department of Chemical Engineering and Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
  2. 2Faculty of Medicine, University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia
  3. 3Department of Research, Riga East University Hospital, Riga, Latvia
  4. 4Digestive Diseases Centre GASTRO, Riga, Latvia
  5. 5Academic Histology laboratory, Riga, Latvia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Hossam Haick, Department of Chemical Engineering and Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 3200003, Israel; hhossam{at}


Objectives Timely detection of gastric cancer (GC) and the related precancerous lesions could provide a tool for decreasing both cancer mortality and incidence.

Design 968 breath samples were collected from 484 patients (including 99 with GC) for two different analyses. The first sample was analysed by gas chromatography linked to mass spectrometry (GCMS) while applying t test with multiple corrections (p value<0.017); the second by cross-reactive nanoarrays combined with pattern recognition. For the latter, 70% of the samples were randomly selected and used in the training set while the remaining 30% constituted the validation set. The operative link on gastric intestinal metaplasia (OLGIM) assessment staging system was used to stratify the presence/absence and risk level of precancerous lesions. Patients with OLGIM stages III–IV were considered to be at high risk.

Results According to the GCMS results, patients with cancer as well as those at high risk had distinctive breath-print compositions. Eight significant volatile organic compounds (p value<0.017) were detected in exhaled breath in the different comparisons. The nanoarray analysis made it possible to discriminate between the patients with GC and the control group (OLGIM 0–IV) with 73% sensitivity, 98% specificity and 92% accuracy. The classification sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy between the subgroups was as follows: GC versus OLGIM 0–II—97%, 84% and 87%; GC versus OLGIM III–IV—93%, 80% and 90%; but OLGIM I–II versus OLGIM III–IV and dysplasia combined—83%, 60% and 61%, respectively.

Conclusions Nanoarray analysis could provide the missing non-invasive screening tool for GC and related precancerous lesions as well as for surveillance of the latter.

Trial registration number Clinical number, NCT01420588 (3/11/2013).


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