Detection of Ovarian Cancer through Exhaled Breath by Electronic Nose: A Prospective Study.

Francesco Raspagliesi, Giorgio Bogani, Simona Benedetti, Silvia Grassi, Stefano Ferla, Susanna Buratti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Diagnostic methods for the early identification of ovarian cancer (OC) represent an unmet clinical need, as no reliable diagnostic tools are available. Here, we tested the feasibility of electronic nose (e-nose), composed of ten metal oxide semiconductor (MOS) sensors, as a diagnostic tool for OC detection. METHODS: Women with suspected ovarian masses and healthy subjects had volatile organic compounds analysis of the exhaled breath using e-nose. RESULTS: E-nose analysis was performed on breath samples collected from 251 women divided into three groups: 86 OC cases, 51 benign masses, and 114 controls. Data collected were analyzed by Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and K-Nearest Neighbors' algorithm (K-NN). A first 1-K-NN (cases vs. controls) model has been developed to discriminate between OC cases and controls; the model performance tested in the prediction gave 985 when the strict class prediction was applied; a second 1-K-NN (cases vs. controls + benign) model was built by grouping the non-cancer groups (controls + benign), thus considering two classes, cases and controls + benign; the model performance in the prediction was of 896 Our preliminary results suggested the potential role of e-nose for the detection of OC. Further studies aiming to test the potential adoption of e-nose in the early diagnosis of OC are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2020


  • early diagnosis
  • ovarian cancer
  • electronic nose
  • K-NN models
  • MOS sensors


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