Zinc treatment cuts mouth cancer risk in rats

Related tags Zinc Cancer

The mineral zinc may help prevent oesophageal and oral cancers in
people at high risk, suggests research on rats.

A team from the Kimmel Cancer Center of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia found that rats that are deficient in dietary zinc experience increased expression of COX-2 in the oesophagus and tongue, an effect that is accompanied by a hyperplastic phenotype in these areas that is likely relevant to cancer development.

Oesophageal and tongue cancers have previously been associated with dietary zinc deficiency, and these cancers often overexpress COX-2, a characteristic known to contribute to carcinogenesis.

Louise Fong and colleagues report in today's issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute​ (vol 97, no 1, pp40-50) that COX-2 overexpression accompanies hyperplasia in zinc-deficient rats.

Treating the rats with zinc or a COX-2 inhibitor reduced COX-2 overexpression and reversed the hyperplasia found in the oesophagus.

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