Biomedical Research
Online ISSN : 1880-313X
Print ISSN : 0388-6107
ISSN-L : 0388-6107
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Exhaled acetone and isoprene in perioperative lung cancer patients under intensive oral care: possible indicators of inflammatory responses and metabolic changes
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2019 Volume 40 Issue 1 Pages 29-36


One of the most severe complications of lung resection is postoperative pneumonia, and its prevention and prediction are critical. Exhaled acetone and isoprene are thought to be related to metabolism; however, little is known on their relationship with bacteria living in the oral cavity or their meaning in the acute phase in perioperative lung cancer patients. We measured acetone and isoprene in exhaled breath of 13 Japanese patients with lung cancer (3 women and 10 men, age range 62–82 years, mean 72.4 years) before breakfast during hospitalization, and compared with two acute-phase proteins, C-reactive protein (CRP) and albumin in blood serum, as well as the total number of bacteria in saliva and their activity to produce acetone and isoprene. Before operation, intensive oral care was carried out for each patient to prevent postoperative pneumonia, and swallowing and cough reflexes were measured for 12 of 13 patients to assess risk of postoperative pneumonia. Breath and saliva were sampled before intensive oral care (T1), after oral care but before operation (T2), and after operation (T3) during hospitalization. The total number of oral bacteria in saliva decreased significantly from T1 to T2 among 13 patients. No acetone or isoprene was detected from saliva after in vitro incubation under anaerobic or aerobic conditions, but both acetone and isoprene were detected in breath. After operation, breath acetone correlated significantly with CRP (Spearman’s ρ = 0.559, P = 0.03), but not with albumin. Breath isoprene correlated significantly with albumin (Spearman’s ρ = 0.659, P = 0.008), but not with CRP after operation. Although the number of subjects was small, our results support the hypothesis that breath acetone and isoprene may be related with these acute-phase proteins, which reflect inflammatory reactions and subsequent changes in metabolism in the early postoperative phase of lung resection.

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