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Cancer Biol Ther. 2014 Feb;15(2):200-6. doi: 10.4161/cbt.26723. Epub 2013 Nov 1.

Blood volatile compounds as biomarkers for colorectal cancer.

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Department of Anesthesiology; First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University; Harbin, PR China.
Department of Biostatistics; School of Public Health; Harbin Medical University; Harbin, PR China.
CAS Key Laboratory of Separation Science for Analytical Chemistry; Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics; Chinese Academy of Sciences; Dalian, PR China.
The Heilongjiang Key Laboratory of Immunity and Infection; Pathogenic Biology; Department of Microbiology; Harbin Medical University; Harbin, PR China; Key Laboratory of Bio-Pharmaceutical; Harbin Medical University; Ministry of Education; Harbin, PR China.


Many recent studies have focused on the connection between the composition of specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in exhaled breath and various forms of cancer. However, the composition of exhaled breath is affected by many factors, such as lung disease, smoking, and diet. VOCs are released into the bloodstream before they are exhaled; therefore, the analysis of VOCs in blood will provide more accurate results than the analysis of VOCs in exhaled breath. Blood were collected from 16 colorectal cancer patients and 20 healthy controls, then solid phase microextraction-chromatography-mass spectrometry (SPME-GC-MS) was used to analysis the exhaled volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The statistical methods principal component analysis (PCA) and partial least-squares discriminant analysis (PLSDA) were performed to deal with the final dates. Three metabolic biomarkers were found at significantly lower levels in the group of CRC patients than in the normal control group (P<0.01): phenyl methylcarbamate, ethylhexanol, and 6-t-butyl-2,2,9,9-tetramethyl-3,5-decadien-7-yne. In addition, significantly higher levels of 1,1,4,4-tetramethyl-2,5-dimethylene-cyclohexane were found in the group of CRC patients than in the normal control group (P<0.05). Compared with healthy individuals, patients with colorectal adenocarcinoma exhibited a distinct blood metabolic profile with respect to VOCs. The analysis of blood VOCs appears to have potential clinical applications for CRC screening.


biomarkers; cancer diagnosis; colorectal cancer; solid-phase microextraction; volatile organic compounds

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