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Study of Essential and Toxic Metal Imbalances in the Scalp Hair of Thyroid Cancer Patients in Comparison with Healthy Donors

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Abstract

Thyroid cancer is among the most common type of head and neck cancer; diet, age, gender and environmental factors play vital roles in its malignancy. The present study was carried out to assess the imbalances in the contents of trace metals due to onset and progression of thyroid cancer. Scalp hair was used as matrix for the evaluation of toxic and trace metals. Quantification of the metals was done through atomic absorption spectrometry. In comparison with healthy subjects, the thyroid cancer patients revealed significantly higher median levels of Mn (71%), Co (64%), Cr (55%), K (49%), Fe (45%), Mg (42%), Pb (36%), Na (30%), and Ni (26%), while the median level of Zn was considerably lower in the patients. The correlation coefficients among the metals in the patients demonstrated significantly different communal relationships compared with the healthy counterparts. Multivariate methods exhibited noticeably dissimilar apportionment among the metals in the patients than the controls. Significant disparities in the metal levels were also noticed for various types (anaplastic thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer, papillary thyroid cancer, and medullary thyroid cancer) as well as stages (I, II, III, and IV) among the thyroid cancer patients. Majority of the metals revealed perceptible disparities in their contents based on gender, habitat, dietary habits, and smoking habits of the patients and controls. Overall, the study showed significantly divergent distribution and associations of the essential and toxic metal levels in the scalp hair of the patients in comparison with the levels in controls.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the administrations of the Nuclear Oncology and Radiotherapy Institute (NORI), Islamabad, Pakistan, for their invaluable help during the sample collection. Technical and financial help by the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan, to execute this project is also acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Munir H. Shah.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (Ethical Review Committee, NORI, Islamabad, Ref. No. QAUC-2017-A77) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Bibi, K., Shah, M.H. Study of Essential and Toxic Metal Imbalances in the Scalp Hair of Thyroid Cancer Patients in Comparison with Healthy Donors. Biol Trace Elem Res 199, 500–512 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12011-020-02186-9

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