In vitro discrimination of tumor cell lines with an electronic nose

Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. 2007 Aug;137(2):269-73. [Link]

Gendron KB, Hockstein NG, Thaler ER, Vachani A, Hanson CW.

Department of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Pennsylvania Health System, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Objective: The electronic nose is a sensor of volatile molecules that is useful in the analysis of expired gases. Our hypothesis is that the electronic nose can distinguish between different types of upper aerodigestive tract tumor cells in vitro.

Study Design: Cells from both tumor and normal cell lines were suspended in saline, and a polymer composite electronic nose was used to evaluate the headspace gases. The data were subjected to principal components analysis, and Mahalanobis distances were calculated to demonstrate the ability of the electronic nose to distinguish among samples.

Results: The tumor cell lines, including adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and mesothelioma, were distinct from each other, and from the normal fibroblast and smooth muscle cells as seen on canonical discrimination plots.

Conclusion: The electronic nose can distinguish between tumor cell lines in vitro and has the potential to be a useful screening test for cancer.