The levels of heavy and essential metals in the serum of breast cancer patients were determined, in order to find out which of them could be of importance in the treatment and prognosis of the cancer. Serum copper, zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese, chromium, cadmium, lead and selenium were measured using atomic absorption spectrophotometer in 29 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and compared with 30 healthy control subjects. The mean serum copper level was significantly lower in patients with breast cancer compared with controls. The mean serum zinc and manganese levels were insignificantly lowered in with breast cancer compared to controls. However, the levels of magnesium, iron, chromium, cadmium lead and selenium were not significantly raised in breast cancer patients compared with the controls. The exact mechanism responsible for the alterations in trace metals in patients with breast cancer is largely unclear and requires further evaluation. However, the serum copper level may be of value in determining the prognosis of these patients.
Key word: Breast cancer, essential trace metals, prognosis.
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