Urine volatile organic compounds composition in mice bearing breast and melanoma tumors: Effect of low-protein diet

Jacob Gopas, Amir Abd El Qader, Carol Isaacson, David Eichler, Yehuda Zeiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in urine may provide information about biomarkers of tumors in their early stages and about tumor growth. Methods: This study demonstrates that the effect of low protein diet on the pattern of VOCs in the urine of healthy and cancer bearing mice is significant. Results: Pentanal, found in nine out of the ten breast cancer-bearing mice on a high protein (HP) diet, was not found in any of the cancer bearing mice under a low protein (LP) diet, even after tumor development. In addition, the concentration of 3-heptanone, also elevated in the HP group, was not found in the LP group. Benzoic acid, 4-ethoxy-, ethyl ester, 2-pentanone, and propane, 1-isothiocyanato-3-(methylthio), all associated with anti-cancer properties or activity, were observed in the LP group, but not in the HP group. 6-methyl-3-heptanone exhibited a marked increase in concentration as a function of tumor growth when mice were maintained on an HP diet; however, its concentration exhibited no change in mice on the LP diet. The LP group showed much better survival, and even spontaneous recovery from cancer. Conclusion: Our results give an insight into the effects of an LP diet on the management of breast cancer and melanoma. While other research groups focus on improving the relative rates of efficacy and accuracy of cancer biopsy results, this study attempted to monitor the initial appearance of cancer by VOCs excreted in urine that may be associated with metabolic and other physiological changes associated with tumor development, and with a diet that inhibits such development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Biomarker Findings
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer biomarkers
  • Low protein diet
  • Melanoma
  • Mouse urine composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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