Detection of differentiated thyroid carcinoma in exhaled breath with an electronic nose

Max Scheepers, Zaid Al-Difaie, Anne Wintjens, Sanne Engelen, Bas Havekes, Tim Lubbers, Marielle Coolsen, Job van der Palen, Tessa van Ginhoven, Menno Vriens, Nicole Bouvy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background This proof-of-principle study investigates the diagnostic performance of the Aeonose in differentiating malignant from benign thyroid diseases based on volatile organic compound (VOC) analysis in exhaled breath. Methods All patients with a suspicious thyroid nodule planned for surgery, exhaled in the Aeonose. Definitive diagnosis was provided by histopathological determination after surgical resection. Breath samples were analyzed utilizing artificial neural networking. Results 133 participants were included, 48 of whom were diagnosed with well-differentiated thyroid cancer. A sensitivity of 0.73 and a negative predictive value (NPV) of 0.82 were found. The sensitivity and NPV improved to 0.94 and 0.95 respectively after adding clinical variables via multivariate logistic regression analysis. Conclusion This study demonstrates the feasibility of the Aeonose to discriminate between malignant and benign thyroid disease. With a high NPV, low cost, and non-invasive nature, the Aeonose may be a promising diagnostic tool in the detection of thyroid cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number036008
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Breath Research
Issue number3
Early online date10 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • electronic nose
  • exhaled air
  • innovative diagnostics
  • thyroid carcinoma
  • volatile organic compounds

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