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

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  • 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.


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

publication date

  • May 2018