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Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths. Unfortunately, lung cancer is often diagnosed only when it becomes symptomatic or at an advanced stage when few treatment options are available. Hence, a diagnostic test suitable for screening widespread populations is required to enable earlier diagnosis. Analysis of exhaled breath provides a non-invasive method for early detection of lung cancer. Analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by various mass spectral techniques has identified potential biomarkers of disease. Nevertheless, the metabolic origins and the disease specificity of VOCs need further elucidation. Cell culture metabolomics can be used as a bottom-up approach to identify biomarkers of pathological conditions and can also be used to study the metabolic pathways that produce such compounds. This paper summarizes the current knowledge of lung cancer biomarkers in exhaled breath and emphasizes the critical role of cell culture conditions in determining the VOCs produced in vitro. Hypoxic culture conditions more closely mimic the conditions of cancer cell growth in vivo. We propose that since hypoxia influences cell metabolism and so potentially the VOCs that the cancer cells produce, the cell culture metabolomics projects should consider culturing cancer cells in hypoxic conditions.

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access


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