(HealthDay News) — For patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), responders and nonresponders can be differentiated by a metal oxide semiconductor electronic nose (eNose) analysis of exhaled breath before starting antiprogrammed death ligand 1 (anti-PD-1) therapy, according to a study published online Sept. 17 in the Annals of Oncology.
Rianne de Vries, from the University of Amsterdam, and colleagues conducted a prospective observational study in patients receiving checkpoint inhibitor therapy using a training and validation set of patients with NSCLC. Breath profiles were collected in duplicate by the eNose positioned at the rear end of a pneumotachograph. Patients received nivolumab or pembrolizumab, and efficacy was assessed at three-month follow-up.
At baseline, exhaled breath data were available for 143 NSCLC patients (training, 92; validation, 51). The researchers found a significant contribution of eNose sensors at baseline for differentiating between patients with different responses at three months of anti-PD-1 therapy. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was 0.89 for the combination of the eNose sensors into a single biomarker. In the validation set, this AUC was confirmed (0.85).
“These results show that breath analysis by eNose can potentially avoid application of ineffective treatment in identified probable nonresponders,” the authors write. “This way individual patients might be saved from unnecessary delays and start treatment with a better alternative.”
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.