According to results of a study published in Scientific Reports, differences in the levels of a number of essential and toxic trace metals were detected in scalp hair and blood specimens of patients with lymphoma compared with healthy controls.

There are limited epidemiologic data linking alterations in the levels of particular trace elements in the body with development of certain cancers, including lymphoma.

In this study, the levels of iron, copper, manganese, nickel, chromium, cadmium, and lead were quantified through atomic absorption spectroscopic analyses of scalp hair and blood samples taken from adult patients with newly diagnosed Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and healthy adult individuals (the controls).

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Specifically, these analyses were performed on blood specimens obtained from 59 patients and 58 healthy controls, as well as hair specimens from 61 patients and 60 controls.  Blood and hair samples were collected from patients before they received treatment for their disease, and no study participants had taken mineral or vitamin supplements for at least 6 months prior to specimen collection.

Some of the findings of this study included significantly higher average concentrations of cadmium, chromium, copper, and nickel in the blood and hair of patients with lymphoma compared with controls (P <.05). In addition, the average lead and manganese levels in the hair and blood of patients with lymphoma were significantly lower in comparison with samples collected from controls (P <.05).

Other analyses evaluated blood and hair levels of trace metals in the group of patients with lymphoma according to lymphoma type/subtype, as well as the stage of the disease.

While noting certain study limitations, such as the absence of data related to dietary habits or specific region of origin, the researchers commented that this “mode of analysis may be used as an additional tool for the prediction/advancement of the lymphoma, although more detailed studies with larger population segments should be conducted to authorize its inferences.”


Qayyum MAShah MH. Disparities in the concentrations of essential/toxic elements in the blood and scalp hair of lymphoma patients and healthy subjects [published online October 25, 2019]. Sci Rep. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-51973-5