The results of the first study to investigate this show that the eNose is more accurate than the current gold standard of immunohistochemistry (IHC) for selecting patients who will respond to anti-PD-1 immunotherapies such as nivolumab or pembrolizumab. IHC involves testing tissue samples for the presence of the protein called programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1), which is the target for anti-PD 1 therapies, but it is invasive and takes time to obtain results.
Professor Michel van den Heuvel, professor of thoracic oncology at the Radboud University Medical Centre (Nijmegen,The Netherlands), who led the research, said: "The introduction of immunotherapy has dramatically improved the treatment of advanced stage non-small cell lung cancer but unfortunately it is only effective in a subset of patients, which was about 20% when we started the study. Currently, there is no test available that can accurately predict who will benefit from this treatment, apart from PD-L1 testing by immunohistochemistry. This is today's biomarker of choice, despite its analytic and predictive limitations, when making clinical decisions about whether or not to treat a patient with immunotherapy."
Ms - Rianne - Vries - PhD - Student
Ms Rianne de Vries, a PhD student in the department of respiratory medicine at Amsterdam University Medical Centres (The Netherlands), who is joint first author of the study, said: "We hypothesised that exhaled breath analysis using eNose technology might be a non-invasive and rapid alternative to the current standard and would enable doctors to avoid treating patients with an immunotherapy to which they would not respond."
The eNose is a small device  that contains sensors to detect chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are present in about one per cent of our exhaled breath. The rest of our breath mainly consists of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water. The researchers thought that the mix of VOCs in the breath of patients with...
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