Altered Trace Element Level and Antioxidant Activity in whole blood of Oral Leukoplakia and Cancer patients in comparison with healthy controls

Niharika Swain, Jay Gopal Ray


Background: Leukoplakia, the most common oral precancerous lesion is a deleterious consequence of prolonged tobacco intake either in smoke or smokeless form. Apart from the well-known risk factors involved in malignant transformation of such potentially malignant disorder, imbalance in trace element profile and associated oxidative stress has recognizable impact in the process of carcinogenesis. Aim: To evaluate the level of the trace elements (Zinc, Copper, Manganese and selenium) and Superoxide dismutase (antioxidant) enzyme activity in whole blood of leukoplakia and oral cancer patients. Materials and Methods: A case control study comprises of 3 study groups of healthy controls (n=30), oral leukoplakia (n=60) and oral cancer (n=60) patients. Trace element concentration and Superoxide Dismutase enzyme activity in whole blood was measured by Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence and Photo-spectrometry respectively. The results were analysed by using One Way-ANOVA and Student’s- t statistical tests. Result: The data analysis revealed remarkable alteration in the trace elemental concentration as Zinc and Selenium concentration was lowered in both precancer and cancer patients as compared to that of the controls. Whereas concentration of Copper was progressively and significantly increased from precancer to cancer group. Manganese showed an inverse pattern in both disease groups. Superoxide Dismutase enzyme activity was significantly (p≤0.05) lowered in both leukoplakia and cancer patients. Conclusion: The present study highlighted about relationship between alternation in the level of trace elements, oxidative stress and leukoplakia. Concerted efforts would, therefore, help in early detection, management and monitoring the efficacy of available treatment.


Trace elements; whole blood; leukoplakia; squamous cell carcinoma; antioxidant enzyme; Superoxide Dismutase

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