Scent-Trained Canine Prospectively Detects Thyroid Cancer in Human Urine Samples

Program: Abstracts - Orals, Poster Previews, and Posters
Session: FRI 020-054-Thyroid Cancer
Friday, March 6, 2015: 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Hall D-F, Thyroid (San Diego Convention Center)

Poster Board FRI-036
Andrew M. Hinson, MD1, Arny A. Ferrando, PhD2, Bekka Wilkerson2, Brendan C. Stack Jr., MD, FACS, FACE1 and Donald L. Bodenner, MD, PhD1
1UAMS, Little Rock, AR, 2University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
In a prior study, we demonstrated that canines could reliably discriminate between urine samples obtained from subjects previously diagnosed with either metastatic thyroid carcinoma (PTC) or benign thyroid disease1. In order to test the ability of canines to prospectively detect thyroid cancer in undiagnosed subjects, urine was collected (February 2014 to November 2014) from 59 subjects who presented to our thyroid clinic with > 1 thyroid nodule(s) suspicious for thyroid cancer. Prior to testing, a canine was imprinted with urine, blood and thyroid tissue obtained from multiple patients with PTC, and trained over 6 months to discriminate between PTC and benign urine samples. In the lab, a gloved handler, blinded to the sample status, presented each unknown sample in a 3-mL cryotube to the canine. The handler verbally communicated the canine’s alert (if PTC, the canine laid down) to a blinded study coordinator who recorded the response. Known control samples (both cancer and benign) were interspersed with the unknown samples and correct answers were rewarded with positive reinforcement. Only PTC (conventional type) (n=14) and benign thyroid disease (n=13) confirmed by final surgical pathology were included in the final analysis. The canine’s alert matched the final surgical pathology diagnosis in 24 out of 27 cases (92.3% correct, 2 false negatives and 1 indeterminate), yielding a sensitivity of 83.0% (10/12) and specificity of 100% (14/14).  Based on preliminary data, scent detection by trained canines serves as a noninvasive, inexpensive and highly specific adjunct to current diagnostic practices.

1. Ferrando AA, Hinson AM, Wilkerson B, Stack BC Jr., Bodenner DL.  Canine detection of metastatic thyroid cancer. Video Endocrinology. 2014. Accepted for publication.

Nothing to Disclose: AMH, AAF, BW, BCS Jr., DLB

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