BACKGROUND: Screening decreases mortality among lung cancer patients but is not widely implemented, thus there is an unmet need for an easily accessible non-invasive method to enable early diagnosis. Particles in exhaled air offer a promising such diagnostic tool. We investigated the validity of a particles in exhaled air device (PExA) to measure the particle flow rate (PFR) and collect exhaled breath particles (EBP) to diagnose primary lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD).

METHODS: Seventeen patients listed for resection of LUAD stages IA-IIIA and 18 non-cancer surgical control patients were enrolled. EBP were collected before and after surgery for LUAD, and once for controls. Proteomic analysis was carried out using a proximity extension assay technology. Results were validated in both plasma from the same cohort and with microarray data from healthy lung tissue and LUAD tissue in the GSE10072 dataset.

RESULTS: Of the 92 proteins analyzed, levels of five proteins in EBP were significantly higher in the LUAD patients compared to controls. Levels of phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) and hepatocyte growth factor receptor (MET) decreased in LUAD patients after surgery compared to control patients. PFR was significantly higher in the LUAD cohort at all timepoints compared to the control group. MET in plasma correlated significantly with MET in EBP.

CONCLUSION: Collection of EBP and measuring of PFR has never been performed in patients with LUAD. In the present study PFR alone could distinguish between LUAD and patients without LUAD. PLTP and MET were identified as potential biomarkers to evaluate successful tumor excision.

Original languageEnglish
Article number369
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalRespiratory Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec 21

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Surgery


  • Humans
  • Phospholipid Transfer Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met
  • Proteomics
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung/diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms/diagnosis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor/genetics


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