Detecting colon cancer using dogs – results of a Dutch pilot study

The use of dogs in the detection of cancer is booming. Many dedicated dog trainers have begun, helped by doctors that provide them with samples. Unfortunately, samples are usually from a very limited number of patients and (matching?) controls, and testing is not always as rigorous as it should be.

In this study training and testing has been integrated to optimally use a limited number of samples. 5 dogs have been trained at the Dutch guide dog society, using stool samples in a carousel setup. By routinely testing samples from new patients and controls before including them in the training odour set, valuable information on generalization and the development of odour concepts has been gathered. Using such a strategy provides vital information on conditions that need to be met for the successful use of dogs as a diagnostic tool.

Authors: A. Schoon, D. de Jonge, P. Hilverin