Exhaled volatile organic compounds in the detection of colorectal cancer

a systematic review and meta-analysis

Authors

  • Daniah Alsaadi The Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, London, United Kingdom. E-mail: daniah.alsaadi@outlook.com https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3497-1828
  • Nicolle Clements Clinical Research Facility Galway, Galway University Hospital, National University of Ireland, Galway, Republic of Ireland https://orcid.org/0009-0006-5464-8541
  • Natiya Gabuniya The Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, London, United Kingdom; Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, London, United Kingdom https://orcid.org/0009-0005-1716-7055
  • Nader Francis The Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, London, United Kingdom; Department of General Surgery, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Yeovil, United Kingdom https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8498-9175
  • Manish Chand The Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, London, United Kingdom https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9086-8724

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17179/excli2024-7042

Keywords:

colorectal cancer, volatile organic compounds, exhaled, breath analysis

Abstract

There is an apparent need for novel non-invasive colorectal cancer (CRC) screening tests that are more acceptable to patients and can reliably detect CRC or reduce the number of unnecessary colonoscopies performed in cancer-free patients. An emerging number of studies demonstrate the potential value of exhaled volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as a diagnostic and triaging test for CRC. A systematic appraisal and meta-analysis of the published evidence was done to determine whether exhaled VOCs can be used in the detection and screening of CRC. Nine electronic databases were searched from inception of the databases until August 2020. Quantitative and descriptive data of CRC patients and healthy control (HC) participants who underwent VOCs breath analysis was extracted. In addition, where possible, sampling methods, analytical platforms, processors, and specific breath biomarkers found in each study were recorded. Fourteen articles were included in the systematic review with 491 colorectal patients and 754 HC participants (n=1245). Sub-group meta-analysis was conducted on nine of those articles and the pooled sensitivity was estimated to be 0.89 (95 % CI = 0.80-0.99) whereas specificity was 0.83 (95 % CI = 0.74-0.92). Heterogeneity of pooled sensitivity and specificity was estimated as I2=11.11 %. Although this study was limited by small sample size and different analytical platforms, the proposed future framework resolves such limitations and standardizes future research. It is reasonable to deduce that VOCs breath analysis is certainly a field of research that can progress to replace traditional methods within the framework of CRC screening and diagnosis.

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Published

2024-05-17

How to Cite

Alsaadi, D., Clements, N., Gabuniya, N., Francis, N., & Chand, M. (2024). Exhaled volatile organic compounds in the detection of colorectal cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. EXCLI Journal, 23, 795–810. https://doi.org/10.17179/excli2024-7042

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Review articles

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