Cerumenogram: a new frontier in cancer diagnosis in humans

Sci Rep. 2019 Aug 13;9(1):11722. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-48121-4.


Cancer is the deadliest human disease and the development of new diagnosis methods is important to increase the chances of a cure. In this work it was developed a new method, named here for the first time as cerumenogram, using cerumen (earwax) as a new biomatrix for diagnosis. Earwax samples collected from cancer patients (cancer group) and cancer-free patients (control group) were analyzed by Headspace/Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (HS/GC-MS), following with multivariate analysis steps to process the raw data generated. In total, 158 volatile organic metabolites (VOMs) were identified in the cerumen samples. The 27 selected as potential VOMs biomarkers for cancer provided 100% discrimination between the cancer and control groups. This new test can thus be routinely employed for cancer diagnoses that is non-invasive, fast, cheap, and highly accurate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerumen / metabolism*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • Volatile Organic Compounds