High zinc levels tied to lower lung cancer risk in men

  • Bai Y & al.
  • Environ Int
  • 13 Apr 2019

  • curated by Kelli Whitlock Burton
  • Univadis Clinical Summaries
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Takeaway

  • High levels of plasma zinc were associated with decreased lung cancer risk and telomere attrition, but only in men.
  • Zinc levels were associated with expression of 8 cancer-related genes.

Why this matters

  • Zinc is one of the most frequently detected trace elements and is involved in cell proliferation, differentiation, and metabolic function.

Study design

  • Nested case-control study of 440 patients with lung cancer and 1320 control patients from the Dongfeng-Tongji (DFTJ) cohort study.
  • Funding: National Natural Scientific Foundation of China; others.

Key results

  • Zinc plasma levels were associated with reduced risk for lung cancer overall (OR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.79-0.99), driven by an effect in men (OR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.74-0.99).
  • Lung cancer risk was lower in male smokers with high zinc plasma levels (OR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.52-0.99) compared with smokers with low zinc levels.
  • Male participants with high zinc levels had less 4-year telomere attrition (P<.001 but there was no association in women>
  • Zinc levels were associated with expression of 8 cancer-related genes that are upregulated in lung tumor tissue: SOD1, APE, TP53BP1, WDR33, LAPTM4B, TRIT1, HUWE1, and ZNF813.
  • Ln-transformed nuts consumption was associated with increased plasma zinc level (β, 0.054; P=.014).

Limitations

  • Plasma levels of essential metals measured only at baseline.

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