Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 183, Issue 1, pp 1–8 | Cite as

Trace Element and Heavy Metal Levels in Colorectal Cancer: Comparison Between Cancerous and Non-cancerous Tissues

  • Masoudreza Sohrabi
  • Ali Gholami
  • MohammadHossein Hosseini Azar
  • Mohammad Yaghoobi
  • Maryamosadat Mirasgari Shahi
  • Solmaz Shirmardi
  • Mehdi Nikkhah
  • Zahra Kohi
  • Delaram Salehpour
  • Mahmood Reza Khoonsari
  • Gholamrez Hemmasi
  • Farhad Zamani
  • Mahmoudreza Sohrabi
  • Hossein Ajdarkosh


Cases of colorectal cancer (CRC) have increased dramatically in Middle Eastern and other Asian countries. Many studies indicate an important role of environmental factors, including trace elements as an etiology of cancer. This study aims to assess the concentration of eight trace elements in cancerous and adjacent non-cancerous tissues in case of CRC. In a cross-sectional study, conducted between March 2015 and February 2016, zinc (Zn), chromium (Cr), manganese (Mn), tin (Sn), copper (Cu), aluminum (Al), lead (Pb), and iron (Fe) levels were evaluated among patients suffering from CRC. All the patients underwent a full colonoscopy. Multiple samples were taken from cancerous lesions and adjacent healthy tissues that kept a minimum distance of 10 cm from the lesions. These specimens were kept at −80 °C. The classic flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (FAAS) method was applied in this study. The mean age of the study population was 55.6 ± 12.8. The median of Zn, Cr, Cu, Al, and Pb in cancerous tissues was significantly higher than that of healthy tissues (P < 0.05). Nevertheless, the median of Mn, Sn, and Fe was significantly lower than that of non-cancerous tissues (P < 0.05). Between colon and rectal specimens, we did not find a difference between Cr and Al levels and Zn, Sn, and Cu levels in cancerous and healthy tissues, respectively. We revealed that gender and history of smoking may influence the level of some trace elements. We revealed that the levels of eight elements were significantly different for cancerous and healthy tissues. This may play a role in developing CRC. These findings reflect the importance of environmental pollution in this setting.


Colorectal cancer Trace elements Gender Tissue 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Iran University of Medical Sciences with ID IR.IUMS.REC.1395-25881. All subjects signed their informed consents before participation. The researchers were committed to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they no conflict of interest.

Supporting Centers

This study was supported by the Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease Research Centre (GILDRC), Iran University of Medical Sciences, and Department of Analytic Chemistry, Faculty of Basic Sciences, Tehran Islamic Azad University, North Branch.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masoudreza Sohrabi
    • 1
  • Ali Gholami
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • MohammadHossein Hosseini Azar
    • 5
  • Mohammad Yaghoobi
    • 6
  • Maryamosadat Mirasgari Shahi
    • 7
  • Solmaz Shirmardi
    • 7
  • Mehdi Nikkhah
    • 1
  • Zahra Kohi
    • 7
  • Delaram Salehpour
    • 7
  • Mahmood Reza Khoonsari
    • 1
  • Gholamrez Hemmasi
    • 1
  • Farhad Zamani
    • 1
  • Mahmoudreza Sohrabi
    • 7
  • Hossein Ajdarkosh
    • 1
  1. 1.Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease Research Center (GILDRC), Firoozgar HospitalIran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Public Health, School of Public HealthNeyshabur University of Medical SciencesNeyshaburIran
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology, School of Public HealthIran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  4. 4.Non-Communicable Diseases Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Research InstituteTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  5. 5.Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal MedicineUremia University of Medical SciencesUrmiaIran
  6. 6.Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health ScienceMc Master UniversityHamiltonCanada
  7. 7.Department of Analytic Chemistry, Faculty of Basic SciencesTehran Islamic Azad UniversityTehranIran

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