Non-invasive diagnosis of liver diseases by breath analysis using an optimized ion-molecule reaction-mass spectrometry approach: a pilot study

Biomarkers. 2010 Jun;15(4):297-306. doi: 10.3109/13547501003624512.


Breath composition is altered in liver diseases. We tested if ion-molecule-reaction mass spectrometry (IMR-MS) combined with a new statistical modality improves the diagnostic accuracy of breath analysis in liver diseases. We analysed 114 molecules in the breath of 126 individuals (healthy controls, and patients with non-alcoholic and alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver cirrhosis) by IMR-MS. Characteristic exhalation patterns were identified for each group. Combining two to seven molecules in the new stacked feature ranking model reached a diagnostic accuracy (area under the curve) for individual liver diseases between 0.88 and 0.97. IMR-MS followed by sophisticated statistical analysis is a promising tool for liver diagnostics by breath analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetaldehyde / analysis
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers
  • Breath Tests*
  • Butadienes / analysis
  • Ethanol / analysis
  • Fatty Liver / diagnosis
  • Fatty Liver, Alcoholic / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Hemiterpenes / analysis
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis
  • Liver Diseases / classification
  • Liver Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pentanes / analysis
  • Pilot Projects


  • Biomarkers
  • Butadienes
  • Hemiterpenes
  • Pentanes
  • isoprene
  • Ethanol
  • Acetaldehyde