Serum copper and zinc and the risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Kok FJ., Van Duijn CM., Hofman A., Van der Voet GB., De Wolff FA., Paays CH., Valkenburg HA.
To investigate the association of serum copper and zinc with mortality from cancer and cardiovascular disease, the authors performed a case-control analysis of data obtained in a Dutch prospective follow-up study. Cancer (n = 64) and cardiovascular disease (n = 62) deaths and their matched controls were taken from a cohort of 10,532 persons examined in 1975-1978. Trace elements were measured in baseline serum samples, which had been stored during the six to nine years of follow-up. The adjusted risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease was about four times higher for subjects in the highest serum copper quintile (greater than 1.43 mg/liter) compared with those with normal levels. The excess mortality observed in subjects with low copper status suggests a U-shaped relation. No significant change in the risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease was found for subjects with low or high baseline levels of serum zinc. However, a protective effect of a high zinc status on the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease is compatible with the data. For definitive conclusions, analysis of larger prospective data sets is recommended.