A compendium of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by human cell lines

Wojciech Filipiak, Pawel Mochalski, Anna Filipiak, Clemens Ager, Raquel Cumeras, Cristina E Davis, Agapios Agapiou, Karl Unterkofler, Jakob Troppmair

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) offer unique insights into ongoing biochemical processes in healthy and diseased humans. Yet, their diagnostic use is hampered by the limited understanding of their biochemical or cellular origin and their frequently unclear link to the underlying diseases. Major advancements are expected from the analyses of human primary cells, cell lines and cultures of microorganisms. In this review, a database of 125 reliably identified VOCs previously reported for human healthy and diseased cells was assembled and their potential origin is discussed. The majority of them have also been observed in studies with other human matrices (breath, urine, saliva, feces, blood, skin emanations). Moreover, continuing improvements of qualitative and quantitative analyses, based on the recommendations of the ISO-11843 guidelines, are suggested for the necessary standardization of analytical procedures and better comparability of results. The data provided contribute to arriving at a more complete human volatilome and suggest potential volatile biomarkers for future validation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2112-2131
Number of pages20
JournalCurrent Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number20
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Biomarker
  • Breath analysis
  • Cancer
  • GC-MS
  • Human cell lines
  • Standardization
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCS)
  • Volatilome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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