U.S. chemists have identified the odor that emanates from skin cancer, a hopeful development that researchers will advance the diagnosis and treatment of deadly disease, said Wednesday in a study.
"Researchers have assumed that tumors emit different smells, but we are the first to identify and quantify the compounds involved in skin cancer odors," said chemist Michelle Gallagher, who led the study at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Creating a "profile" of the chemical odors linked to skin cancer, may lead to a day when the diagnosis can be done by waving a scanner over the skin, researchers told the annual conference of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Doctors already know that skin cancer results in a particular odor, and recent studies have shown that dogs are able to detect tumors because they smell different from normal skin.
Gallagher and his colleagues have analyzed the sites of the air above the tumor in 11 patients diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, and compare the findings with those taken from patients healthy.
They found "a different profile of chemicals above tumor sites relative to healthy skin, the same chemicals are present, but the cancer of the skin to certain chemicals are the sites has increased, while some others are decreased compared to healthy people. "
Nearly one million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year.The scientists revealed no chemicals, but they plan to identify a reliable "odor profile" of all three forms of cancer of the skin, including squamous cell cancer and melanoma, the deadliest form.
Gallagher said she hoped the findings would "open the doors to possible new approaches to diagnosis of skin cancer based on the profile of skin odors, hopefully leading to more rapid and non - invasive detection and diagnosis. "Skin cancer is currently diagnosed by taking biopsies of irregular moles or lesions.
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