The development of a sensitive method to study volatile organic compounds in gaseous emissions of lung cancer cell lines



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Texas A&M University


The ultimate objective of this research was to develop a low cost, reliable system that would lead to early detection of lung cancer. Tests involved the quantitation of gaseous metabolic emissions from immortalized lung cancer cell lines in order to correlate the chemical markers to be of cancerous origin. The specific aims of the project were the study of gas emissions in selected cancer cell lines and identification of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in them. Disadvantages of earlier studies were that the measurements were not real time or state specific so that molecular identification was often inconclusive. Furthermore the methods of study used in the past were not quantitative, which limited their practicality for medical applications. We felt the need to prove or disprove these earlier results using a new technique. The method we proposed is different and unique when compared to previous methods because cell lines have not been studied extensively for cancer markers. We have studied cancer cell lines which are adherent, immortalized cultures originating from primary tumors obtained from patients with no prior treatment for lung cancer. We have used an alternative method for the spectrometric analysis and quantitation of the selected chemical markers. The pre-concentration method involved a Purge and Trap unit with a thermal desorber where the vapor concentration was enhanced. The concentrated head space gases were analyzed using a Gas Chromatograph ?? Mass Spectrometer setup. This setup eliminated the bulky apparatus used in earlier studies. It is simpler in design and more comprehensive so that external factors such as patient??s diet, habitat and lifestyle do not contribute to our study of recognition of cancer markers. Based on the results obtained in the above experiments, a more comprehensive, inexpensive study of lung cancer related markers could be made. The first section, after giving an introduction to lung cancer, goes on to explain the background work done by other researchers on cancer. The third section gives a detailed explanation of the experimental setup. This is followed by all the tests conducted with corresponding results. The final section deals with the conclusions drawn from all experiments.