Category: Advances in Bioanalytics and Biomarkers

1355-A - Q-Tips tipping-off cancer...

Monday, February 5, 2018
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

During the past couple of years, our research group has discovered breakthrough information about the diagnostic potential of earwax in a number of pathological and toxicological conditions in both humans and animals. In the present work, we first developed a test for the diagnosis of cancer in dogs using an ear swab in a mass spectrometric-based metabolomic approach. Ear swabs were collected from a total of 91 dogs; 68 dogs with different types of cancer (breast, skin and soft tissue, testicular and prostate cancer, colorectal, transmissible venereal tumor) and 23 healthy dogs. Samples were then analyzed by headspace gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (HS/GC-MS). Our results revealed a total of 127 volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the HS/GC-MS chromatograms of dog samples, of which 30 compounds were found to be discriminating biomarkers between the cancer group and the healthy group depending on binary (presence/absence) data. These compounds include carbonyl compounds, alcohols, esters, heterocyclic compounds (pyrroles, pyridines, furans and pyrans), methoxycatechols, organonitriles, aliphatic hydrocarbons (straight chain and branched chain) as well as aromatic hydrocarbons. We also tried to unlock the possible metabolic routes behind the formation of each of the candidate biomarkers. Using our approach, all the dog samples with cancer were correctly identified, thus giving a diagnostic accuracy of 100%. This means that the test is fully capable of detecting cancer as a preliminary step that requires further screening processes to discriminate between the different types of cancer. The same approach was tentatively applied as a pilot study in humans to discriminate between healthy individuals and patients with different cancer types. The study involved 30 cancer patients versus a control group of 30 healthy subjects. It was shown that the same panel of VOC biomarkers was obtained in the ear swabs of the cancer patients making the approach equally successful in humans as in dogs. In conclusion, this new test can be successfully employed as an alternative to blood tests being not only non-invasive and cheap but also saving valuable time as it is able to detect cancer in as little as 30 minutes in comparison to two weeks consumed in blood testing.

Engy S. Shokry

Postdoctoral Associate
Laboratory of Methods of Extraction and Separation (Laboratório de Métodos de Extração e Separação-LAMES), Federal University of Goiás (Universidade Federal de Goiás-UFG)
Goiania, Goias, Brazil

Engy Shokry graduated from Faculty of Pharmacy, Ain Shams University in 2004 (excellent with honor degree) as a top ranked student. She received her doctorate in Analytical Chemistry in 2011. She authored, co-authored 20 international scientific manuscripts, presented 18 oral and poster communications in international meetings in the area of drug stability, bioanalysis, biomarkers and clinical diagnosis in addition to co-supervising five postgraduate students. She worked as analytical chemistry lecturer from 2011. In 2014, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Newborn Screening unit, clinical chemistry Labs, Meyer Children Hospital, Italy where she participated in projects in area of newborn screening and drug bioanalysis for pharmacokinetic studies. In 2015, she joined the group of Prof. Nelson Antoniosi as a postdoctoral associate at the Laboratory of Methods of Extraction and Separation, Federal University of Goiás where she is currently working on a research project: Analysis of earwax for clinical diagnosis.