Esophagus cancer and essential trace elements

Front Public Health. 2022 Nov 16;10:1038153. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.1038153. eCollection 2022.


Numerous epidemiological and laboratory studies on essential trace elements have reported protective associations in developing various cancer types, including esophagus cancer (EC). However, the results are not always consistent. Some essential trace elements could play a vital role in preventing esophagus cancer. Some showed no association with esophageal cancer risk, while others harmed individuals. This article reviews the association between the intake or supplementation of essential trace elements (especially zinc, copper, iron, and selenium) and the risk of esophageal cancer. Generally, zinc intake may decrease the risk of esophageal cancer (EC), especially in high esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) prevalence regions. The association between copper supplementation and EC remains uncertain. Total iron consumption is thought to be associated with lower EC risk, while heme iron intake may be associated with higher EC risk. Selenium intake showed a protective effect against EC, especially for those individuals with a low baseline selenium level. This review also prospects the research direction of the association between EC and essential trace elements.

Keywords: copper; esophagus cancer; essential trace elements; iron; minerals; selenium; zinc.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Copper
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma*
  • Humans
  • Iron
  • Selenium*
  • Trace Elements*
  • Zinc


  • Trace Elements
  • Selenium
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Iron