, Volume 95, Issue 1, pp 49-63

Variation in the distribution of trace elements in hepatoma

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Abstract

There are many reports of reduction of zinc level and rise of copper level in serum of patients with liver disease. However, there are a few reports that compare the trace elements in tumor tissues and nontumor tissues of the liver with hepatoma.

We studied trace element distribution in tumor tissues and nontumor tissues of liver with hepatoma and compared them with data from normal liver tissues. Zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), selenium (Se), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), and iron (Fe) were chosen as the trace elements to be observed.

We observed falls of Zn, Cd, and Hg levels in tumor tissues and the rise of Cu level as a result of this investigation. Zn, Cd, and Hg levels in tumor tissues were significantly lower than those in nontumor tissues and Zn, Cd, and Hg levels in nontumor tissues were significantly lower than in normal liver tissues. This tendency was clearer for Cd and Hg than for Zn. Although the distribution of Cu was not significant, a distribution contrary to that of Zn was shown.

These findings indicate that the distribution of Zn, Cd, and Hg can serve as supportive evidence that could be useful as a tumor marker. Selenium showed almost the same accumulation tendency among tumor tissues, nontumor tissues, and normal livers. Although correlation was observed among most metals in the normal liver, there was almost no correlation in tumor tissues.