THURSDAY, June 30, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Electronic noses (e-noses) appear to have a relatively high diagnostic accuracy in the detection of cancer from exhaled breath, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published online June 29 in JAMA Network Open.

Max H.M.C. Scheepers, M.D., from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies evaluating the diagnostic accuracy and methodologic challenges of using e-noses for the detection of cancer.

Based upon 52 included feasibility studies (3,677 patients with cancer), the researchers found that the sensitivity of e-noses ranged from 48.3 to 95.8 percent and the specificity from 10.0 to 100.0 percent. Pooled analysis yielded a mean area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 94 percent, a sensitivity of 90 percent, and a specificity of 87 percent. Differences in the selection of patients, endogenous and exogenous factors, and collection of exhaled breath resulted in considerable heterogeneity of the studies.

“Although e-noses were found to have promising accuracy in detecting cancer, there is a need for standardized external validation studies that evaluate their diagnostic accuracy so that their role in the diagnostic workup of cancer can be established,” the authors write.

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