Published in

Nature Research, Scientific Reports, 1(8), 2018

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-23072-4



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Identification of Sarcosine as a Target Molecule for the Canine Olfactory Detection of Prostate Carcinoma

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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AbstractThe hypothesis that dogs can detect malignant tumours through the identification of specific molecules is nearly 30 years old. To date, several reports have described the successful detection of distinct types of cancer. However, is still a lack of data regarding the specific molecules that can be recognized by a dog’s olfactory apparatus. Hence, we performed a study with artificially prepared, well-characterized urinary specimens that were enriched with sarcosine, a widely reported urinary biomarker for prostate cancer (PCa). For the purposes of the study, a German shepherd dog was utilized for analyses of 60 positive and 120 negative samples. Our study provides the first evidence that a sniffer dog specially trained for the olfactory detection of PCa can recognize sarcosine in artificial urine with a performance [sensitivity of 90%, specificity of 95%, and precision of 90% for the highest amount of sarcosine (10 µmol/L)] that is comparable to the identification of PCa-diagnosed subjects (sensitivity of 93.5% and specificity of 91.6%). This study casts light on the unrevealed phenomenon of PCa olfactory detection and opens the door for further studies with canine olfactory detection and cancer diagnostics.