For asbestos-exposed individuals, the specter of mesothelioma is always lurking in the background. Every cough or discomfort raises alarm bells that it could be the first sign of a deadly diagnosis. Researchers have been exploring the utility of a screening breath test to help allay these fears and provide an early detection tool. They reported on their progress at a recent scientific conference.
Mesothelioma Breath Test Study Yields Mixed Results
Led by Kevin Lamote of the University of Antwerp, Belgian scientists detailed the results of their mesothelioma breath test study to attendees of the 2023 World Conference on Lung Cancer, held last week in Singapore. Though it is early in their process, results suggest that the test shows potential.
The mesothelioma breath test is being evaluated in the MESOBREATH 5 study. The researchers are trying to determine whether volatile organic compounds in exhaled breath are predictive of latent disease and can be used for early diagnosis.
Mesothelioma Study Participants All Have History of Asbestos Exposure
To see whether their mesothelioma breath analysis can accurately detect – or rule out – mesothelioma, the researchers have recruited 121 participants with a history of asbestos exposure. All were required to have had their first exposure at least 30 years ago and have at least 15 fiber years. Seven of the cohort have already been confirmed to have the rare form of cancer.
Each participant in the mesothelioma study underwent breath testing in both 20223 and 2023 and will continue to be tested in 2024 and 2025. To date, the test has shown 100% sensitivity and negative predictive value, but the positive predictive value was just 4.2%, with accuracy of 29.1% and specificity of 26.9%. The next step for the researchers is to have patients who show two positive results submit to low-dose CT scans to confirm the results of the breath test.
If you have been exposed to asbestos and fear a mesothelioma diagnosis, screening and early diagnosis are important to your long-term prognosis. For more information on the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.FREE Mesothelioma Packet