Nutrition, immunity and cancer. A review. Part II: Zinc, immune function and cancer

L. H. Schloen, G. Fernandes, J. A. Garofalo, R. A. Good

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


In this paper the importance of zinc in determining normal and perturbed immune functions is reassessed. The human zinc deficiency is due to rare genetic abnormalities, acquired pathologic conditions and, very often dietary insufficiency. A response to acute stress after a bacterial infection causes profound effects upon serum zinc fluctuations. Zinc is an absolute requirement for lymphocyte transformation. Zinc could be operating at several different levels in influencing lymphocyte mitogenic response. In human zinc deficiency disease and in induced deficiency states in animals thymic hypoplasia and deficient T lymphocyte-mediated functions are the most consistent findings, which can be restored by zinc therapy. The available informations about the relationship between zinc immunodeficiency and cancer are not complete enough to permit the conclusion that the presence of cancer is, in itself, associated with a depression of serum zinc, in spite of the presence of depressed immune parameters. (Dr. J.Sugar - Budapest - Hungary)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-75
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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