Nav: Home

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA

June 17, 2019

CHICAGO-June 17, 2019--Three beagles successfully showed they are capable of identifying lung cancer by scent, a first step in identifying specific biomarkers for the disease. Researchers say the dogs' abilities may lead to development of effective, safe and inexpensive means for mass cancer screening.

After eight weeks of training, the beagles--chosen for their superior olfactory receptor genes--were able to distinguish between blood serum samples taken from patients with malignant lung cancer and healthy controls with 97% accuracy. The double-blind study is published in the July edition of The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

"We're using the dogs to sort through the layers of scent until we identify the tell-tale biomarkers," says Thomas Quinn, DO, professor at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and lead author on this study. "There is still a great deal of work ahead, but we're making good progress."

The dogs were led into a room with blood serum samples at nose level. Some samples came from patients with non-small cell lung cancer; others were drawn from healthy controls. After thoroughly sniffing a sample, the dogs sat down to indicate a positive finding for cancer or moved on if none was detected.

Dr. Quinn and his team are nearing completion of a second iteration of the study. This time the dogs are working to identify lung, breast and colorectal cancer using samples of patients' breath, collected by the patient breathing into a face mask. Researchers say findings suggest the dogs are as effective detecting cancer using this method.

The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified. The goal is to develop an over-the-counter screening product, similar to a pregnancy test, in terms of cost, simplicity and availability. Dr. Quinn envisions a device that someone can breathe into and see a color change to indicate a positive or negative finding.

Early detection key

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide for both women and men, and more than 200,000 people annually in the United States receive a diagnosis of lung cancer. The five-year survival rate for stage IA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is 92%. That drops to 13% in stage IIIC NSCLC, and after metastasis, the five-year survival rates range from 10% to less than 1%, depending on the stage.

Additionally, screening and imaging for lung cancer is costly and not always reliable. Chest X-rays have a high false-negative rate, while CT scans with computer-aided diagnosis have a high false-positive rate. Previous studies indicated that 90% of missed lung cancers occur when using chest X-rays, and CT scans have dif?culty identifying small, central, juxtavascular lung cancers.

Dr. Quinn believes his research can lead to better screening and diagnosis solutions, potentially creating a change in cancer detection.

"Right now it appears dogs have a better natural ability to screen for cancer than our most advanced technology," says Dr. Quinn. "Once we figure out what they know and how, we may be able to catch up."
-end-
About The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association

The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) is the official scientific publication of the American Osteopathic Association. Edited by Robert Orenstein, DO, it is the premier scholarly peer-reviewed publication of the osteopathic medical profession. The JAOA's mission is to advance medicine through the publication of peer-reviewed osteopathic research.

Media Contact

Jeff Brennan, Media Relations Manager

312-202-8161 | jbrennan@osteopathic.org

American Osteopathic Association

Related Lung Cancer Articles:

Lung cancer therapy may improve outcomes of metastatic brain cancer
A medication commonly used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread, or metastasized, may have benefits for patients with metastatic brain cancers, suggests a new review and analysis led by researchers at St.
Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Lung transplant patients face elevated lung cancer risk
In an American Journal of Transplantation study, lung cancer risk was increased after lung transplantation, especially in the native (non-transplanted) lung of single lung transplant recipients.
Proposed cancer treatment may boost lung cancer stem cells, study warns
Epigenetic therapies -- targeting enzymes that alter what genes are turned on or off in a cell -- are of growing interest in the cancer field as a way of making a cancer less aggressive or less malignant.
Are you at risk for lung cancer?
This question isn't only for people who've smoked a lot.
Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
Lung cancer is the third most common type of cancer in Germany and the disease affects both men and women.
New liquid biopsy-based cancer model reveals data on deadly lung cancer
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for 14 percent of all lung cancers and is often rapidly resistant to chemotherapy resulting in poor clinical outcomes.
Cancer drug leads to 'drastic decrease' in HIV infection in lung cancer patient
Doctors in France have found the first evidence that a cancer drug may be able to eradicate HIV-infected cells in humans.
Air pollution is associated with cancer mortality beyond lung cancer
A large scale epidemiological study associates some air pollutants with kidney, bladder and colorectal cancer death.
More Lung Cancer News and Lung Cancer Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Making Amends
What makes a true apology? What does it mean to make amends for past mistakes? This hour, TED speakers explore how repairing the wrongs of the past is the first step toward healing for the future. Guests include historian and preservationist Brent Leggs, law professor Martha Minow, librarian Dawn Wacek, and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler).
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.