Investigation of volatile biomarkers in lung cancer blood using solid-phase microextraction and capillary gas chromatography-mass spectrometry

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2004 Sep 5;808(2):269-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2004.05.015.


In the present work, solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was developed for investigation of lung cancer volatile biomarkers. Headspace SPME conditions (fiber coating, extraction temperature and extraction time) and desorption conditions were optimized and applied to determination of volatiles in human blood. To find the biomarkers of lung cancer, investigation of volatile compounds in lung cancer blood and control was performed by using the present method. Concentrations of hexanal and heptanal in lung cancer blood were found to be much higher than those in control blood. The two molecules of hexanal and heptanal were regarded as biomarkers of lung cancer. By comparison of volatiles in breath and in blood, it is demonstrated that hexanal and heptanal in breath were originated from blood and screening of lung cancer by breath analysis be feasible. These results show that SPME/GC-MS is a simple, rapid and sensitive method very suitable for investigation of volatile disease markers in human blood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aldehydes / analysis
  • Aldehydes / blood
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Breath Tests
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / blood*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Volatilization


  • Aldehydes
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • heptanal
  • n-hexanal