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Pilot study: Volatile organic compounds as a diagnostic marker for head and neck tumors




In the last decade, the analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOC) has undergone a rapid development. In this pilot study, patients with HNSCC were tested with a proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry in order to establish a minimal invasive screening method.


Overall in a period of 2 years, 22 carcinoma patients were recruited for the study. All patients had a newly diagnosed histologically secured squamous cell carcinoma of the upper aerodigestive tract. These results were statistically compared with 3 control groups: healthy controls, high-risk, and posttherapy patients.


Two hundred nine different masses were measured; 188 of these were evaluated. The statistical workup of the 4 study groups produced 42 different masses, which showed a statistically significant difference from the carcinoma group compared with the control groups.


A screening method for HNSCC using VOC seems to be possible, but further investigation is necessary. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2008