gms | German Medical Science

27th German Cancer Congress Berlin 2006

German Cancer Society (Frankfurt/M.)

22. - 26.03.2006, Berlin

Is serum-zinc a possible tumor markerfor palliative treatment decision? A pilot study in head and neck cancer patients

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Jens Büntzel - Südharzkrankenhaus, Nordhausen, Deutschland
  • Asadulla Garayev - Südharzkrankenhaus, Nordhausen
  • Oliver Micke - AK Trace Elements and Electrolytes in Oncology (AKTE)
  • Ralph Mücke - AK Trace Elements and Electrolytes in Oncology (AKTE)
  • Jürgen Gäbert - Südharzkrankenhaus, Nordhausen
  • Frank Bruns - AK Trace Elements and Electrolytes in Oncology (AKTE)
  • Klaus Kisters - AK Trace Elements and Electrolytes in Oncology (AKTE)
  • Michael Glatzel - AK Trace Elements and Electrolytes in Oncology (AKTE)

27. Deutscher Krebskongress. Berlin, 22.-26.03.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocPE559

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: March 20, 2006

© 2006 Büntzel et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: Decreased zinc serum levels are well known as characteristics in patients with head and neck cancer. The aim of the presented study is the observation of this parameter during the tumor disease of this subgroup.

Methods: We have included 21 patients (20 male, 1 female, median age 62 years) to the study and collected blood samplings at the beginning of the disease and during the follow up visits at our out door department. The zinc serum concentration was measured by atom absorption spectrometry (Parker 600). The clinical data (survival, tumor status) were recorded by the patient’s file at the out door department.

Results: At the end of our follow-up period (median 24 month, range 9-40) 11 patients died, 2 are living with cancer, and 8 are tumor free living. Further decreasing of zinc serum levels was observed in 7/11 died patients, 2/2 tumor-progredient living patients and 2/8 tumor-free living patients. The significant reduction of zinc serum levels was measured in median 5 weeks (range 2-7 weeks) before patient’s death.

Conclusions: The measurement of zinc levels seems to offer additional informations for the palliative situation in head and neck cancer. Further studies and larger data pools are necessary to investigate this hypothesis.