Human ovarian carcinoma detected by dogs

Gyrgy Horvath Department of Oncology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gteborg, Sweden, gyorgy.horvath@oncology.gu.se

Gunvor af Klinteberg J¤rverud Department of Oncology, Swedish Working Dog Club, Kode, Sweden
Sven J¤rverud
Department of Oncology, Swedish Working Dog Club, Kode, Sweden
Istv¡n Horv¡th
Department of Oncology, Hungarian Working Dog Club, Dunaszekcs, Hungary
The high mortality rate associated with ovarian carcinoma is mainly owing to late diagnosis. It is thus essential to develop inexpensive and simple methods for early diagnosis. Papers on canine scent detection of malignancies such as melanoma and bladder, lung, and breast cancer have recently been published in peer-reviewed journals, indicating a new diagnostic tool for malignancies.

However, in these studies the dogs may have responded to odors associated with cancer, such as inflammation or metabolic products, rather than specifically to cancer itself. Therefore, it is important to ascertain whether or not human cancers are characterized by specific odors. We hypothesized that if ovarian carcinoma emits a specific odor, dogs may be trained to detect it. Using our training method, we taught a dog to distinguish different histopathological types and grades of ovarian carcinomas, including borderline tumors, from healthy control samples. Double-blind tests showed 100% sensitivity and 97.5% specificity. Moreover, the odor of ovarian carcinomas seems to differ from those of other gynecological malignances such cervical, endometrial, and vulvar carcinomas. Our study strongly suggests that the most common ovarian carcinomas are characterized by a single specific odor.

This version was published on June 1, 2008
Integrative Cancer Therapies, Vol. 7, No. 2, 76-80 (2008)
DOI: 10.1177/1534735408319058

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