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The electronic nose is a promising diagnostic tool with high accuracy for the identification of prostate cancer in urine samples.

The gold standard for the diagnosis of prostate cancer is the prostate biopsy, with a detection rate of 21.0%–48.5% for any prostate cancer. Prostate biopsy is associated with a high rate of missed diagnoses of prostate cancer, as well as considerable patient discomfort, high healthcare costs, and several complications. Cell modifications in disease processes are associated with the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into biological fluids, serving as non-invasive biomarkers. This study evaluated the diagnostic efficacy of an electronic nose (eNose) for prostate cancer in urine samples.

The study, published in the International Journal of Urology, was a blind prospective cohort comprising 174 consecutive patients (88 prostate cancer and 86 control) between March 2020 and March 2021. Spontaneous 30 cc urine samples were acquired for VOC testing from participants. The eNose comprised metal oxide semiconductor (MOS) sensors for urine analysis. The temperature of the sensor array was 400°C, and the frequency of sensor signals was 1 Hz. Adsorption-related interaction between urinary VOCs and MOS sensors led to variations in the electrical resistance of the sensors. The experimental protocol involves several steps, including thawing, urine headspace creation, urine headspace conditioning, and eNose analysis. Feature vectors and clinical information were added to the training dataset.

The analysis of eNose performance suggested 85.2% sensitivity and 79.1% specificity of the eNose in the study population. The exclusion of females from the control subgroups led to 85.2% sensitivity and 75.4% specificity. The inclusion of only adult men in the analysis, eNose demonstrated 85.2% sensitivity and 72.7% specificity. The diagnostic accuracy of this device is described by the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC), which, in this study, was measured as 0.821.

This study concluded that eNose has a high diagnostic accuracy for identifying prostate cancer in urine samples. Future clinical trials are warranted to validate eNose application in prostate cancer diagnosis.

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Taverna, G., Grizzi, F., Tidu, L., Bax, C., Zanoni, M., Vota, P., Lotesoriere, B. J., Prudenza, S., Magagnin, L., Langfelder, G., Buffi, N., Casale, P., & Capelli, L. (2022). Accuracy of a new electronic nose for prostate cancer diagnosis in urine samples. International Journal of Urology, 29(8), 890-896. https://doi.org/10.1111/iju.14912