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Volatomic pattern of breast cancer and cancer-free tissue as a powerful strategy to identify potential biomarkers


Breast cancer (BC) is ranked as the fifth amongst all cancers remaining at the top of women´s cancers worldwide followed by colorectal, lung, cervix, and stomach cancers. The main handicap of most of the screening/diagnostic methods are based on its low sensitivity and specificity and the invasive behavior of most sampling procedures. The aim of this study was to establish the volatomic pattern of BC and cancer-free (CF) tissues (n=30) from the same patients, as a powerful tool to identify a set of volatile organic metabolites (VOMs) potential BC biomarkers which might be used together or complement the traditional BC diagnostics strategies, through the integration of chromatographic data, obtained by solid-phase microextraction followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (SPME/GC-qMS), with chemometric tools. A total of four metabolites: limonene, decanoic acid, acetic acid and furfural, presented the highest contribution towards discrimination of BC and CF tissues (VIP >1, p < 0.05). The discrimination efficiency and accuracy of BC tissue metabolites was ascertained by ROC curve analysis that allowed the identification of some metabolites with high sensitivity and specificity. The results obtained with this approach suggest the possibility to identify endogenous metabolites as a platform to find potential BC biomarkers and paves a way to investigate the related metabolomic pathways in order to improve BC diagnostic tools. Moreover, deeper investigations could unravel novel mechanistic insights into the disease pathophysiology.

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Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 07 Feb 2019, accepted on 11 May 2019 and first published on 14 May 2019

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9AN00263D
Analyst, 2019, Accepted Manuscript

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    Volatomic pattern of breast cancer and cancer-free tissue as a powerful strategy to identify potential biomarkers

    C. Silva, R. M. Perestrelo, P. Silva, F. Capelinha, H. Tomás and J. Câmara, Analyst, 2019, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C9AN00263D

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