Researchers have developed a breathing test that can detect stomach cancer Researchers have developed a breathing test that can detect stomach cancer Researchers have developed a breathing test that can detect stomach cancer (Photo: file404/Shutterstock)

Breath test could diagnose stomach cancer

Researchers say the simple test is accurate and effective.

A breath test may be able to detect early stages of stomach cancer, according to a study published online in the journal Gut.

The test, developed by Israeli researchers at the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute in Haifa, Israel, spots chemical signals in exhaled air that are linked to tumor development.

By looking for distinctive breath-prints, researchers can distinguish between patients at high and low risk of developing the disease.

The test was accurate to the point that it was even able to detect the difference between early and late stage stomach cancers. 

“The attraction of this test lies is its non-invasiveness, ease of use, rapid predictiveness, and potentially low cost,” said Professor Hossam Haick, of the Israel Institute of Technology's Department of Chemical Engineering at Russell Berrie.

The American Cancer Society estimates about 24,590 cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. Stomach cancer is difficult to detect in its earliest stages, and sufferers are often misdiagnosed.

Haick was also involved in the development of a similar test to identify lung cancer called NA-NOSE – the Nanoscale Artificial Nose. Researchers took breath samples through a breathalyzer-type device embedded with a nanotech chip that "sniffs out" cancerous tumors. 

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