In a finding that may help boost early diagnosis, researchers have found that certain forms of ovarian cancer are characterised by a single specific odor detectable by trained dogs.
The researchers, led by György Horvath MD, PhD, from the University Hospital in Göteborg, Sweden, along with colleagues at Working Dog Clubs in Sweden and Hungary, trained dogs to distinguish different types and grades of ovarian cancer, including borderline tumours.
They found that the odor of ovarian cancer does seem to differ from those of other gynecological malignancies, such as cervical, or endometrial cancers, suggesting that a particular, distinguishable scent is associated with ovarian cancer.
They additionally found that early-stage and low-grade ovarian cancers emit the same scent as advanced tumors.
"Our study strongly suggests that the most common ovarian carcinomas are characterised by a single specific odor detectable by trained dogs," write the authors in the article. "And while we do not believe that dogs should be used in clinical practice, because they may be influenced during their work, leading to changes in the accuracy rates, still, under controlled circumstances, they may be used in experiments to further explore this very interesting new property of malignancies."
"I believe there is great value in this study, which adds to the growing body of research suggesting the diagnostic skills of these specially trained dogs. Their ability to detect specific odors associated with chemicals related to malignancy should eventually lead to effective methods and tools for very early detection, and thus a greater proportion of cancer cures," Says Dr Keith Block, editor-in-chief of Integrative Cancer Therapies.
Ovarian cancer has a high mortality rate, primarily due to late diagnosis. – (EurekAlert)
Source: Integrative Cancer Therapies. June 2008.
Dogs helping in cancer fight