Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.
A study looking at breath samples to detect cancer early (PAN Cancer Early Detection Study)
This study is looking to see if it is possible to analyse breath samples to spot cancer early.
Cancer Research UK supports this study.
More about this trial
It also included people having tests for the following types of cancer but these groups are now closed:
Who can enter
- stomach cancer
- cancer of the foodpipe (oesophagus)
It was also for people having tests for the following cancer types but these groups are now closed:
- kidney cancer
- prostate cancer
- bladder cancer
- pancreatic cancer
- liver cancer
- can’t give the breath sample
- have had experimental treatment as part of a clinical trial in the 28 days before giving the breath sample
- have given a tissue sample or had a test called an
endoscopyin the 48 hours before doing the breath test
- have a type of cancer that doctors aren’t looking at in this study
- have cancer that has come back (recurred)
- have had any other cancer in the last 2 years apart from
basal cell skin cancer, squamous cell skin cancer, CISof the cervix that was successfully treated at least 1 year before joining this study
- have had a mild infection in the last 2 weeks or a major infection in the last 6 weeks that needed treatment in hospital, for example hepatitis B hepatitis C or tuberculosis
- have lung problems such as cystic fibrosis or pneumonitis
- have asthma or long term lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and you had treatment in hospital or had to take steroids in the last 6 weeks
- have severe kidney problems
- have had a stay in hospital for symptoms that aren’t related to the tumour in the last 6 weeks
- have HIV with a very low resistance to infection (a severe immune deficiency)
- have had lung surgery or a type of lung surgery called VATS or bronchial termoplasty
The researchers need 1,100 people to take part. The study is taking place at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.
The breath test
The study team will ask you to perform a breathing test. This is quite easy to do. They’ll ask you to wear a special mask over your nose and mouth and breathe normally for a maximum of 12.5 minutes. You might feel a slight wind blowing in your face as you breathe.
During the procedure, a healthcare professional will check your breathing and whether you are comfortable. If you feel uncomfortable during the procedure you are free to stop it and consider continuing afterwards. You will be able to remove the facemask yourself or a healthcare professional will help you.
The mask is attached to small device that collects the sample. The study team will store your breath in 4 small tubes. They will send these to the laboratory to be analysed.
ReCIVA breath sampler used to collect breath samples
- ask about your medical history
- check if you have any symptoms
- ask if you take any medication
- ask if any of your close family members have ever had cancer
- ask if you are a smoker and time since your last cigarette
- measure your height and weight
- ask what you had had to eat before the test
There aren’t any side effects of having the breath test. However, having the face mask might feel uncomfortable as it covers the nose and mouth and may feel claustrophobic in a small number of people. The nurse should be able to adjust the straps, and this should help. You are free to stop the breath test at any time if it feels too uncomfortable.
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald
Owlstone Medical Ltd
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Cancer Research UK