Document Type: Original Article


Environmental Laboratory, Nuclear Science Research School, Nuclear Science and Technology Research Institute, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Tehran, Iran


Background: Pancreatic cancer is a major worldwide health problem. Little is known about the etiology of pancreatic cancer, which is an important cause of cancer mortality in developed countries. This study evaluates the importance of amounts of trace elements in pancreatic cancer etiology and diagnostics.Methods: Atomic absorption spectrometry was used to estimate zinc, selenium, copper, cadmium and lead concentrations in 80 patients with pancreatic cancer admitted to various hospitals in Tehran Province over an 18-month period and in 100 control subjects.Results: There were significantly lower levels (P0.05)of zinc in patients' sera(63.12±26.45 μg/dl) compared with controls (107.05±30.23 μg/dl). The mean concentration of cadmium in patients (3.10±1.05 μg/l) was higher than in healthy subjects(1.52±0.88 μg/l; P0.05).Conclusion: In this study and by analyzing data from recent major reported series, we have found that cadmium is a plausible pancreatic carcinogen. This study also suggests a significant relationship between zinc metabolism and pancreatic cancer.