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Colon tissue concentrations of copper, iron, selenium, and zinc in colorectal carcinoma patients

P. Hornik, D. Milde, Z. Trenz, K. Vysloužil, and V. Stužka

Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Palacký University, Tř. Svobody 8, 77146 Olomouc, Czech Republic



Received: 24 January 2006  Revised: 3 April 2006  Accepted: 15 April 2006

Abstract: Concentration of four trace elements (copper, zinc, iron, and selenium) was determined in colon tissue from twenty-three patients with colorectal cancer. The tissue samples were dried and dissolved using microwave-assisted digestion technique. The content of trace elements was determined using atomic absorption spectrometry. No significant differences between Zn levels in normal and cancerous tissues were observed. However, the levels of Cu, Fe, and Se were significantly higher in cancerous tissues than in the control samples.
The results obtained sing microwave-assisted technique were compared to those obtained via alkaline digestion with tetramethylammonium hydroxide. Both techniques were used for the digestion of certified reference material of pork liver. Very good agreement with the certified values of Cu, Fe, and Zn in the reference material was achieved using alkaline digestion procedure. This technique seems to be an efficient alternative to decomposition of biological samples.

Keywords: trace elements - cancerous tissue - atomic absorption spectrometry - alkaline digestion - microwave-assisted digestion - tetramethylammonium hydroxide

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-006-0052-6


Chemical Papers 60 (4) 297–301 (2006)

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