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Biometals. 1995 Jul;8(3):205-8.

Increased urinary zinc excretion in cancer patients is linked to immune activation and renal tubular cell dysfunction.

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  • 1Second Department of Internal Medicine, Charles University Medical School, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic.


Urinary zinc excretion is known to be increased in cancer patients, but the pathogenesis of this phenomenon remains uncertain. Both skeletal muscle catabolism and renal tubular cell dysfunction have been proposed to explain this observation. We have investigated urinary zinc and N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase (NAG), an indicator of renal tubular cell dysfunction, as well as serum neopterin, an index of systemic immune activation, in 22 patients with cancer and seven controls. Both serum neopterin and urinary zinc were significantly elevated in cancer patients (15.8 +/- 12.7 versus 7.3 +/- 2.3 nmol l-1 and 1.77 +/- 0.80 versus 1.21 +/- 0.41 mmol mol-1 creatinine, P < 0.02 and P < 0.05, respectively), while NAG was similar in cancer patients and the controls (13.58 +/- 13.80 versus 13.68 +/- 12.19 mu kat mol-1 creatinine). A significant correlation was observed between serum neopterin and urine zinc (rs = 0.5119, P < 0.02), serum neopterin and urine NAG (rs = 0.6761, P < 0.002), and urinary zinc and NAG (rs = 0.6348, P < 0.002). In conclusion, the present data indicate a link between urinary zinc excretion and immune activation as well as renal tubular cell dysfunction. In addition, renal tubular cell dysfunction appears to be linked to immune activation.

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