Biological Trace Element Research

, 82:1

Analysis of serum copper and zinc concentrations in cancer patients


  • Miłosława Zowczak
    • Clinical BiochemistryKarol Marcinkowski University of Medical Sciences
  • Maria Iskra
    • Clinical BiochemistryKarol Marcinkowski University of Medical Sciences
  • Lech Torliński
    • Clinical BiochemistryKarol Marcinkowski University of Medical Sciences
  • Szczepan Cofta
    • Department of PneumonologyKarol Marcinkowski University of Medical Sciences

DOI: 10.1385/BTER:82:1-3:001

Cite this article as:
Zowczak, M., Iskra, M., Torliński, L. et al. Biol Trace Elem Res (2001) 82: 1. doi:10.1385/BTER:82:1-3:001


Several studies have shown that plasma copper concentrations are increased in various carcinomas. Zinc acts as a cellular growth protector, including growth of neoplastic cells, and its deficiency was demonstrated to be involved in several stages of malignant transformation. However, the usefulness of the serum zinc and copper determinations in cancer prevention, detection, monitoring treatment, and prognosis requires further investigations. The aim of the present study was to compare the serum copper and zinc levels in patients with cancer of the lung (PC), breast (BC), gastrointestinal tract (GIC), and gynecological (GYNC) malignancy with progress of the disease. The results of the study have shown a significant increase in the mean total serum Cu levels and the serum Cu/Zn ratio in all patient groups with cancer compared to a control group. Increased mean serum concentrations and Cu/Zn ratios were found in the whole group (ALLC), and for the GIC and GYNC groups with local as well as metastasized (Meta) disease in comparison with the control group. The mean serum concentrations of Zn were decreased only in metastasized ALLC and GYNC groups.

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© Humana Press Inc. 2001