New role for zinc in breast cancer diagnosis

Skip to Navigation

Blog Post

  • Published: Jan 12, 2015
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: NMR Knowledge Base / Proteomics / Chemometrics & Informatics / Infrared Spectroscopy / MRI Spectroscopy / X-ray Spectrometry / Raman / Base Peak / UV/Vis Spectroscopy / Atomic

View comments on this post

The natural isotope composition of zinc in human tissue could be exploited as a biomarker for breast cancer, say scientists in the UK.

It has already been confirmed that there is more zinc in the tissue of breast cancers than in normal breast tissue. Now, in the first reported study of the natural isotopic variations of zinc in breast cancer, which were measured by ICP AES and ICP MS, it has been revealed that the lighter isotopes of zinc were more dominant in the tumours. So, some sort of natural isotopic fractionation is taking place.

Although the metabolism of zinc in breast tissue cannot be fully explained at present, zinc importer proteins, metallothionein, and zinc transporter proteins are thought to be involved. Writing in Metallomics, the UK researchers suggested the isotopic lightness of zinc points to a dominant role for metallothionein.

Following up on this point, isotopically light tumour tissue means that there is an isotopically heavy zinc pool somewhere else in the body. Pinpointing this pool could be the route to a new method of breast cancer diagnosis and it would be especially useful if it resided in blood or serum as it would be relatively easy to collect. However, after blood testing, the isotopic variation could not be detected.

Speculating on the source of the heavy pool, the researchers commented "The mechanism resulting in the expulsion of isotopically heavy Zn from the tumour cells is key to finding the appropriate compartment containing the biomarker and, for example, could be in white blood cells or a specific protein size fraction from blood."


There are currently no comments on this post.

Comment Form

You have to log in to comment on this post.

Log in using the form at the top of the page or register here.

Social Links

Share This Links

Bookmark and Share


Suppliers Selection
Societies Selection

Banner Ad

Click here to see
all job opportunities

Copyright Information

Interested in separation science? Visit our sister site

Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved