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World J Surg. 2013 Nov;37(11):2641-6. doi: 10.1007/s00268-013-2164-9.

Heavy and trace metals in carcinoma of the gallbladder.

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Department of General Surgery, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, 221 005, India,



Carcinoma of the gallbladder is the commonest malignancy of the biliary tract in northern India The etiologic relation of specific metals (heavy and trace) and their compounds to neoplasia has been a topic of investigation for some time but not adequately described for carcinoma of the gallbladder. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the relation of heavy and trace metals to this malignancy.


The levels of selenium, zinc, copper, manganese, cadmium, chromium, lead, and nickel were estimated in serum, bile, gallstones, and gallbladder tissue using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The tests were carried out in 30 patients with gallbladder cancer and 30 sex-matched patients with cholelithiasis.


Selenium and zinc levels were significantly reduced (p < 0.001) and copper concentration was found to be significantly higher (p < 0.001) in serum, bile, and gallbladder tissue from patients with carcinoma of the gallbladder. Lead, cadmium, chromium, and nickel levels were elevated in serum and bile in patients with carcinoma of the gallbladder.


The present study demonstrated a significant decrease in serum, biliary, and tissue levels of selenium and zinc but increased copper, lead, cadmium, chromium, and nickel levels in patients with carcinoma of the gallbladder, indicating a strong relation between the concentrations of these metals and gallbladder cancer.

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