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Accumulation of Chromium and Nickel Metals in Lung Tumors from Lung Cancer Patients in Taiwan

Metallic carcinogenicity is generally thought to generate of free radicals, and thus some metals were reported to play a role in lung tumorigenesis. In order to verify the role of heavy metals in the development of Taiwanese lung cancer, a case-control study was conducted to compare heavy metal contents between 60 tumor and 42 normal lung tissues surgically resected from lung cancer and noncancer patients. The tissue concentration of heavy metals, including cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), cobalt (Co), lead (Pb), and nickel (Ni), was measured using by atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS). Our results indicated that Cr and Ni contents in lung tumors of lung cancer patients were significantly higher than those in normal lung tissue of noncancer controls, but Co content was markedly lower in lung tumors. Additionally, Pb content in lung tumors was associated with nodal involvement, and Co amounts in squamous-cell carcinomas were relatively higher than those in adenocarcinomas. Data suggest that accumulation of Cr and Ni in lung tumors may play a role, at least in part, in the development of lung cancer in Taiwan.