NEWARK, NJ -- (Marketwired) -- 03/05/14 -- A six-minute breath test accurately identified women with early stage breast cancer or an abnormal screening mammogram.
The study of 244 women, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, was performed at three breast cancer centers: Newark Beth Israel hospital in Newark, NJ, Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA and Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
Menssana Research CEO Dr. Michael Phillips said: "Researchers discovered 20 years ago that women with breast cancer have abnormal volatile chemicals in their breath. But only recently have we learned how to use these chemicals for early screening."
"A negative result on the breath test was especially useful, because it ruled out both breast cancer and an abnormal screening mammogram with almost 100% accuracy. Most normal healthy woman will have a negative breath test result, and they would probably not need a routine screening mammogram.
"Mammograms are often uncomfortable, painful, and require a dose of potentially hazardous radiation. In contrast, a screening breath test is safe, painless, non-invasive and does not expose patients to any radiation."
Dr. Phillips emphasized that screening breath tests for breast cancer should be considered experimental until these findings are confirmed in larger studies. Nor does a positive breath test confirm a breast cancer diagnosis. Overall test accuracy for breast cancer was around 80%, so women with a positive breath test should have other tests including a mammogram.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and it is second only to lung cancer in overall cancer deaths. The National Cancer Institute estimated that more than 232,000 women would be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and nearly 40,000 would die of the disease. To reduce the number of breast cancer deaths, many countries have established screening mammography programs to detect early-stage disease when it is easiest to cure.
The US National Institutes of Health and the Dutch Pink Ribbon Foundation funded the research.
About us: Menssana Research develops breath tests for diseases including breast cancer, lung cancer, tuberculosis, and heart transplant rejection. The 6-minute Breathlink test has European Regulatory Approval (CE Mark) for both breast cancer and pulmonary tuberculosis. FDA has approved the Heartsbreath test for heart transplant rejection with a Humanitarian Device Exemption.