Zinc as an anti-tumor agent in prostate cancer and in other cancers

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2007 Jul 15;463(2):211-7. doi: 10.1016/j.abb.2007.02.033. Epub 2007 Mar 16.

Abstract

Human prostate glandular epithelial cells have the unique capability of accumulating high levels of zinc. This is essential to inhibit m-aconitase activity so that citrate can accumulate for secretion into prostatic fluid, which is a major function of the prostate gland. As a result, the Krebs cycle is truncated with the consequence of the lost ATP production that would result from citrate oxidation. The cellular accumulation of zinc also inhibits mitochondrial terminal oxidation and respiration. In addition to these metabolic effects, zinc accumulation exhibits anti-proliferative effects via its induction of mitochondrial apoptogenesis. Zinc accumulation also inhibits the invasive/migration activities in malignant prostate cells. The anti-proliferative effects and the effects on invasion and migration occur through zinc activation of specific intracellular signaling pathways. Consequently, these effects impose anti-tumor actions by zinc. The ability of prostate cells to accumulate zinc is due to the expression and activity of the zinc uptake transporter, ZIP1. To avoid the anti-tumor effects of zinc, in prostate cancer the malignant prostate cells exhibit a silencing of ZIP1 gene expression accompanied by a depletion of cellular zinc. Therefore we regard ZIP1 as a tumor suppressor gene in prostate cancer. In addition to prostate cells, similar tumor suppressor effects of zinc have been identified in several other types of tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis
  • Biological Transport
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prostate / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Zinc / metabolism*
  • Zinc / pharmacology*

Substances

  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Zinc