Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 23–30 | Cite as

A case-control study on selenium, zinc, and copper in plasma and hair of subjects affected by breast and lung cancer

  • Lino Piccinini
  • Paola Borella
  • Annalisa Bargellini
  • Cristina Incerti Medici
  • Alessandra Zoboli


The purpose of our study was to investigate the relationship between plasma and hair levels of Se, Zn, and Cu, and cancer. We selected a total of 66 patients affected by either breast (38) or lung (28) cancer. They entered into the study at the onset of disease, and before any chemical or radiotherapy. Controls were randomly selected among healthy people and were matched for sex, age, smoking habits, and residence. In the group of breast cancer, a significant decrease in hair Se was found compared to controls (p<0.01), whereas plasma Se was only slightly decreased. No difference between cases and controls was detected in both hair and plasma levels of Zn and Cu. Subjects who developed lung cancer were significantly lower in hair Zn (p<0.05) and Cu (p<0.01) than controls, whereas there was no difference with regard to Se. In addition, plasma Cu of these patients was increased as compared to controls.

Index Entries

Selenium zinc copper breast cancer lung cancer plasma hair 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lino Piccinini
    • 1
  • Paola Borella
    • 2
  • Annalisa Bargellini
    • 2
  • Cristina Incerti Medici
    • 2
  • Alessandra Zoboli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical, Oncological and Radiological Sciences, Section of Internal Medicine, Oncology and EmatologyUniversity of ModenaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical Sciences, Section of Hygiene and MicrobiologyUniversity of ModenaItaly

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