Hair Iron and Other Minerals’ Level in Breast Cancer Patients

Little is known about hair minerals in cancer patients, and serum iron level has been shown to be elevated in breast cancer patients. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate hair iron and hair minerals’ level related to hair iron in breast cancer patients compared to controls.We compared hair mineral analysis data of 40 breast cancer subjects with age and body mass index-matched normal control data (n=144) by cross-sectional analysis. All breast cancer patients were newly diagnosed at one Breast Cancer Center in Ajou University and had their hair cut before anti-cancer chemotherapy, and the normal controls (without breast cancer) also had their hair cut for various reasons in out-patient clinics of the Department of Family Practice and Community Health. Breast cancer patients had low calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc, whereas they had high arsenic, sodium, and potassium compared with the normal control. The hair iron level was positively correlated with hair calcium (r= 0.761, P<0.001), magnesium (r=0.643, P<0.001), and manganese (r=0.550, P<0.001) and negatively correlated with arsenic (r=−0.537, P<0.001). The hair iron level was significantly associated with the hair calcium (β=0.778, P<0.001) and manganese (β=0.240, P<0.001) by using multiple linear regression analysis. We observed different hair mineral patterns in breast cancer patients compared to normal controls. Especially, hair iron level was significantly reduced and associated with hair calcium and manganese levels.

Nam-Seok Joo, Sang-Man Kim, Yong-Sik Jung & Kwang-Min Kim (Biol Trace Elem Res (2009) 129:28–35)