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J Biol Inorg Chem. 2011 Jan;16(1):3-8. doi: 10.1007/s00775-010-0736-9. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

Zinc is decreased in prostate cancer: an established relationship of prostate cancer!

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Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences, Dental School, University of Maryland, 650 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


This minireview is prompted by the recent report of Banas et al. (J Biol Inorg Chem 15:1147-1155, 2010), which purports to show and concludes that zinc levels are increased in prostate cancer. Such a conclusion conflicts with the overwhelming corroborating clinical and experimental evidence that has amassed from numerous reports over the past approximately 60 years; these consistently show that prostate zinc levels are decreased in the development and progression of prostate cancer. We submit that this is an established relationship in prostate cancer that must be considered and described in any studies that purport to identify results that are inconsistent with this established relationship. In support of this relationship, we provide a minireview of the information that has led to the establishment of this relationship. As with most established clinical relationships, exceptions and anomalies often exist. However, these must be described and explained in the context of the established relationship, and not in the context of refutation of the established relationship, at least not until sufficient corroborating evidence overwhelms the existing evidence. This provides a background to address and to critique the report of Banas et al. Of broader and more serious implications are the widespread recalcitrance and/or lack of knowledge within the clinical and biomedical research community for recognition that zinc decrease in prostate cancer is an established relationship. This leads to misinformation and misinterpretations regarding clinical, experimental, and epidemiological issues that do not serve the best interests of the scientific, medical, and public communities.

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