Detection of Lung Cancer and EGFR Mutation by Electronic Nose System

Dekel Shlomi, Manal Abud, Ori Liran, Jair Bar, Naomi Gai-Mor, Maya Ilouze, Amir Onn, Alon Ben-Nun, Hossam Haick, Nir Peled

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Introduction Early detection of lung cancer (LC) has been well established as a significant key point in patient survival and prognosis. New highly sensitive nanoarray sensors for exhaled volatile organic compounds that have been developed and coupled with powerful statistical programs may be used when diseases such as LC are suspected. Detection of genetic aberration mutation by nanoarray sensors is the next target. Methods Breath samples were taken from patients who were evaluated for suspicious pulmonary lesions. Patients were classified as those with benign nodules, as patients with LC with or without the EGFR mutation, and according to their smoking status. Breath prints were recognized by nanomaterial-based sensor array, and pattern recognition methods were used. Results A total of 119 patients participated in this study, 30 patients with benign nodules and 89 patients with LC (16 with early disease and 73 with advanced disease). Patients with LC who harbored the EGFR mutation (n = 19) could be discriminated from those with wild-type EGFR (n = 34) with an accuracy of 83%, sensitivity of 79%, and specificity of 85%. Discrimination of early LC from benign nodules had 87% accuracy and positive and negative predictive values of 87.7 and 87.5% respectively. Moderate discrimination (accuracy of 76%) was found between LC of heavy smokers and that of never-smokers or distant past light smokers. Conclusions Breath analysis could discriminate patients with LC who harbor the EGFR mutation from those with wild-type EGFR and those with benign pulmonary nodules from those patients with early LC. A positive breath print for the EGFR mutation may be used in treatment decisions if tissue sampling does not provide adequate material for definitive mutation analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1544-1551
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Thoracic Oncology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Electronic nose
  • Lung cancer
  • Pulmonary nodule
  • Sensor
  • Volatile organic compound


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