Application of gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC–MS) in conjunction with multivariate classification for the diagnosis of gastrointestinal diseases

Cauchi, Michael; Fowler, Dawn P.; Walton, Christopher; Turner, Claire; Jia, Wenjing; Whitehead, Rebekah N.; Griffiths, Lesley; Dawson, Claire; Bai, Hao; Waring, Rosemary H.; Ramsden, David B.; Hunter, John O.; Cole, Jeffrey A. and Bessant, Conrad (2014). Application of gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC–MS) in conjunction with multivariate classification for the diagnosis of gastrointestinal diseases. Metabolomics, 10(6) pp. 1113–1120.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11306-014-0650-1

Abstract

Gastrointestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis are a growing concern in the developed world. Current techniques for diagnosis are often costly, time consuming, inefficient, of great discomfort to the patient, and offer poor sensitivities and specificities. This paper describes the development and evaluation of a new methodology for the non-invasive diagnosis of such diseases using a combination of gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC–MS) and chemometrics. Several potential sample matrices were tested: blood, breath, faeces and urine. Faecal samples provided the only statistically significant results, providing discrimination between CD and healthy controls with an overall classification accuracy of 85 %(78 %specificity; 93 %sensitivity). Differentiating CD from other diseases proved more challenging, with overall classification accuracy dropping to 79 % (83 % specificity; 68 % sensitivity). This diagnostic performance compares well with the gold standard technique of colonoscopy, suggesting that GC–MS may have potential as a non-invasive screening tool.

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