Detection of malignant pleural mesothelioma in exhaled breath by multicapillary column/ion mobility spectrometry (MCC/IMS)
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is predominantly caused by previous asbestos exposure. Diagnosis often happens in advanced stages restricting any therapeutic perspectives. Early stage detection via breath analysis was explored using multicapillary column/ion mobility spectrometry (MCC/IMS) to detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the exhaled breath of MPM patients in comparison to former occupational asbestos-exposed and non-exposed controls. Breath and background samples of 23 MPM patients, 22 asymptomatic former asbestos (AEx) workers and 21 healthy non-asbestos exposed persons were taken for analysis. After background correction, we performed a logistic least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (lasso) regression to select the most important VOCs, followed by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. MPM patients were discriminated from both controls with 87% sensitivity, 70% specificity and respective positive and negative predictive values of 61% and 91%. The overall accuracy was 76% and the area under the ROC-curve was 0.81. AEx individuals could be discriminated from MPM patients with 87% sensitivity, 86% specificity and respective positive and negative predictive values of 87% and 86%. The overall accuracy was 87% with an area under the ROC-curve of 0.86. Breath analysis by MCC/IMS allows MPM patients to be discriminated from controls and holds promise for further investigation as a screening tool for former asbestos-exposed persons at risk of developing MPM.