Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment
ISSN (Print): 2374-1996 ISSN (Online): 2374-2003 Website: Editor-in-chief: Jean Rommelaere
Open Access
Journal Browser
Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment. 2013, 1(1), 1-3
DOI: 10.12691/jcrt-1-1-1
Open AccessArticle

Role of Serum Trace Elements in Oral Precancer and Oral Cancer - a Biochemical Study

Shishir Ram Shetty, , Subhas Babu, Suchetha Kumari, Pushparaja Shetty, Shruthi Hegde and Arvind Karikal

Pub. Date: March 23, 2013

Cite this paper:
Shishir Ram Shetty, Subhas Babu, Suchetha Kumari, Pushparaja Shetty, Shruthi Hegde and Arvind Karikal. Role of Serum Trace Elements in Oral Precancer and Oral Cancer - a Biochemical Study. Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment. 2013; 1(1):1-3. doi: 10.12691/jcrt-1-1-1


Several studies in recent years have linked association between micronutrient levels and various forms of cancer. Copper and Zinc have been the most researched micronutrients. The aim of the study was to evaluate the levels of Copper, Zinc and iron in serum of patients with Oral leukoplakia, Oral Submucous Fibrosis and oral Squamous cell carcinoma. There was a highly significant increase in the level of serum copper in Oral submucous fibrosis patients when compared to controls (p=0.001). Serum copper levels were also elevated in oral leukoplakia and oral cancer patients (p=0.01). There was a significant decrease in the serum zinc levels in all three study groups when compared to controls (p=0.001). A highly significant reduction in serum Iron levels was noticed oral submucous fibrosis group. The copper to zinc ratio significantly increased in all the study groups when compared to controls. Results suggest that serum copper and zinc as well as the copper to zinc ratio could be used as biomarkers for oral precancer and cancer.

serum copper zinc ratio iron

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


Figure of 2


[1]  Hamada G.S, Bos A. J, Kasuga H, Hirayama T. Comparative epidemiology of oral cancer in Brazil & India. Tokai J Exp. Clin Med 1991; 16:63-72.
[2]  Bouquot JE, Whitaker SB. Oral Leukoplakia rationale for diagnosis and prognosis of its clinical subtypes or phases. Quintessence Int 1994; 25:133-40.
[3]  Koyama H. Trace elements: Mechanistic action of anticarcinogenic action action. Nippon Rinshow 1994; 54:52-58.
[4]  Ames BN. Micronutrients prevent cancer and delay aging. Toxicol Let 1999; 28:102-103.
[5]  Vyas RK, Gupta AP, Aeron AK. Serum Copper, zinc, Magnesium and cadmium levels in various human disease. Ind J Med Res 1982; 76:301-304.
[6]  Sassidharan VK, Streekumar P, Vasudevan DM. serum Copper Levels in patients with carcinoma of oral cavity. Ind Med Gaz 1983; 47:259-260.
[7]  Poo JL, Romero RR, Robles JA, Montemayor AC, Isoard F, Estanes A, Uribe M. Diagnostic value of the copper/zinc ratio in digestive cancer: a case control study. Arch Med Res. 1997; 28:259-63.
[8]  Margalith EJ, Schenker JG, Chevion M (1983). Copper and zinc levels in normal and malignant tissues. Cancer 1983; 52: 868-72.
[9]  Khanna SS, Karjodkar FR. Circulating immune complexes and trace elements (Copper, Iron and Selenium) as markers in oral precancer and cancer : a randomised, controlled clinical trial. Head Face Med 2006; 2:33.
[10]  Tadakamadla J, Kumar S, Mamatha GP. Evaluation of serum copper and iron levels among oral submucous fibrosis patients. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal 2011; 16: e870-3.
[11]  Miceli MV, Tatejr DJ, Alcock NW, Newsome DA. Zinc Deficiency and Oxidative Stress in the Retina of Pigmented Rats. Inv Ophthal Vis Sci 1999;40:1238-44.
[12]  Jayadeep A, Raveendran PK, Kannan S, Nalinakumari KR, Mathew B, Krishnan NM (1997). Serum levels of copper, zinc, iron and ceruloplasmin in oral leukoplakia and Squamous cell carcinoma. J Exp Clin Can Res 1997;16: 295-300.
[13]  Swain N, Ray JG. Altered Trace Element Level and Antioxidant Activity in Whole Blood of Oral Leukoplakia and Cancer patients in Comparison with Healthy Controls. Int J Or Maxillofac Pathol 2011; 2:2-6.
[14]  .Bose SC, Singh M, Vyas P, Singh M. Plasma zinc antioxidant vitamins, glutathione levels and total antioxidant activity in oral leukoplakia. Den Res J 2012; 9:158-161.
[15]  Costello LC, Feng P, Milon B, Tan M, Franklin RB. Role of zinc in the pathogenesis and treatment of prostate cancer: critical issues to resolve Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases 2004; 7:111-117.
[16]  Anuradha CD, Devi CS. Serum protein, ascorbic acid & iron & tissue collagen in oral submucous fibrosis--a preliminary study. Indian J Med Res 1993;98:147-51
[17]  Tilakaratne WM, Klinikowski MF, Saku T, Peters TJ, Warnakulasuriya S.Oral submucous fibrosis: review on aetiology and pathogenesis. Oral Oncol 2006; 42:561-68.
[18]  Khanna S. Immunological and Biochemical Markers in Oral Carcinogenesis: The Public Health Perspective Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 2008; 5:418-422.