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Cancer Biomark. 2010;7(3):153-61. doi: 10.3233/CBM-2010-0182.

Analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the headspace of NCI-H1666 lung cancer cells.

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Univ.-Clinic for Anesthesia, Anichstrasse 35, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) provides an elegant approach for cancer screening and disease monitoring, whose use is currently limited by a lack of validated cancer-derived metabolites, which may serve as biomarkers. The aim of the experiments presented here was to investigate the release and consumption of VOCs from the non small cell lung cancer cell line NCI-H1666, which was originally derived from a bronchoalveolar carcinoma.Following detachment by trypsinization suspended cells were incubated in a sealed fermenter for 21 hours. 200 ml of headspace from the cell culture were sampled, diluted with dry, highly purified air and preconcentrated by adsorption on three different solid sorbents with increasing adsorption strength. VOC-analysis was performed by thermodesorption-gas chromatography mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS). In contrast to our previous studies experiments with NCI-H1666 cells only confirmed the consumption of several aldehydes, n-butyl acetate and the ethers methyl tert-butyl ether and ethyl tert-butyl ether, but no unequivocal release of VOCs was observed. Together with our previously published work these data indicate that the consumption of certain VOCs is commonly observed while their release shows cell line-restricted patterns, whose underlying causes are unknown.

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