Acta Scientific Cancer Biology (ASCB)

Review Article Volume 4 Issue 5

Zinc: The Wonder Drug for the Treatment of Carcinomas

Leslie C Costello* and Renty B Franklin

Department of Oncology and the Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, The University of Maryland School of Dentistry, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

*Corresponding Author: Leslie C Costello, Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences, The University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Received: March 03, 2020; Published: April 27, 2020



 Evidence is evolving that support the relationship that all carcinomas exhibit the following important relationships: The malignant cells exhibit a significant decreased zinc compared to the normal cells. The higher zinc levels that exist in the normal cells are cytotoxic in the malignant cells. The decrease in zinc is due to the down regulation of the ZIP-family zinc uptake transporter. These cells are as “ZIP-deficient/decreased zinc” malignancies. This provides a target for a chemotherapy that can restore the high zinc levels that will manifest cytotoxic effects in the malignant cells. In order to achieve this, a vehicle that facilitates the uptake and accumulation of zinc in the ZIP-deficient cells is required. The zinc ionophore, clioquinol, exhibits the properties that will provide these requirements. This is demonstrated by the treatment of a patient with 3% Clioquinol Cream, which successfully suppressed the progression of androgen-dependent prostate cancer. This treatment should also be efficacious for pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, thyroid cancer, kidney cancer, stomach cancer, gall bladder cancer, and lung cancer; which are carcinomas that exhibit decreased zinc. Thus, it is appropriate to describe that “Zinc is the wonder drug for the treatment of carcinomas”.

Keywords: Zinc; Carcinomas; Clioquinol; Treatment



  1. Vallee B and Falchuck K. “The biochemical basis of zinc physiology”. Physiological Reviews 73 (1993): 79-118.
  2. Costello LC and Franklin RB. “A comprehensive review of the role of zinc in normal prostate function and metabolism; and its implications in prostate cancer”. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 611 (2016):100-112.
  3. Costello LC., et al. “Evidence for operation of the direct zinc ligand exchange mechanism for trafficking, transport, and reactivity of zinc in mammalian cells”. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry 105 (2011): 589-599.
  4. Franklin RB., et al. “Zinc and zinc transporters in normal prostate and the pathogenesis of prostate cancer”. Frontiers in Bioscience 10 (2005): 2230-2239.
  5. Zaichick VY., et al. “Zinc in human prostate gland: Normal, hyperplastic and cancerous”. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 217 (1997): 157-161.
  6. Danielsen A and Steinnes E. “A study of some selected trace elements in normal and cancerous tissue by neutron activation analysis”. The Journal of Nuclear Medicine 11 (1970): 26026-26034.
  7. Kew MC and Mallett RC. “Hepatic zinc concentrations in primary cancer of the liver”. British Journal of Cancer 9 (1974): 80-83.
  8. Tashiro H., et al. “Variation in the distribution of trace elements in hepatoma”. Biological Trace Element Research 95 (2003): 49-63.
  9. Costello LC and Franklin RB. “The status of zinc in the development of hepatocellular cancer: an important, but neglected, clinically established relationship”. Cancer Biology and Therapy 15 (2014): 353-360.
  10. Costello LC., et al. “Decreased zinc and downregulation of ZIP3 zinc uptake transporter in the development of pancreatic adenocarcinoma”. Cancer Biology and Therapy 12 (2011): 297-303.
  11. Costello LC., et al. “In situ clinical evidence that zinc levels are decreased in breast invasive ductal carcinoma”. Cancer Causes and Control 27 (2016): 729-735.
  12. Costello LC., et al. “Evidence that human prostate cancer is a ZIP1-Deficient malignancy that could be effectively treated with a zinc Ionophore (clioquinol) approach”. Chemotherapy 4 (2015): 15213.
  13. Costello LC. “The suppression of prolactin is required for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer”. Oncogene3 (2019): 13.
  14. Costello LC and Franklin RB. “Testosterone, prolactin, and oncogenic regulation of the prostate gland. A new concept: Testosterone-independent malignancy is the development of prolactin-dependent malignancy!”. Oncology Reviews 12 (2018): 356.
  15. Costello LC., et al. “A novel patient case report to show the successful termination of untreatable androgen-independent prostate cancer: Treatment with cabergoline (dopamine agonist)”. Mathews Open Access Journals 1 (2019): 42.
  16. Costello LC and Franklin RB. “A review of the current status and concept of the emerging Implications of zinc and zinc transporters in the development of pancreatic Cancer”. Pancreatic Disorders and Therapy 4 (2013): 002.
  17. Siegel RL., et al. “Cancer statistics, 2019”. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 69 (2019): 7-34.
  18. Gumulec J., et al. “Serum and tissue zinc in epithelial malignancies: a meta-analysis”. PLoS One 9 (2014): e99790.
  19. Liang JY., et al. “Inhibitory effect of zinc on human prostatic carcinoma cell growth”. Prostate 40 (1999): 200-207.
  20. Feng P., et al. “Direct effect of zinc on mitochondrial apoptogenesis in prostate cells”. Prostate 52 (2002): 311-318.
  21. Franklin RB and Costello LC. “Zinc as an anti-tumor agent in prostate cancer and in other cancers”. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 463 (2007): 211-217.
  22. Costello LC Franklin RB., et al. “Zinc and prostate cancer: a critical scientific, medical, and public interest issue (United States)”. Cancer Causes and Control 16 (2005): 901-915.
  23. Leitzmann MF., et al. “Zinc supplement use and risk of prostate cancer”. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 95 (2003): 1004-1007.
  24. Costello LC., et al. “A critical assessment of epidemiology studies regarding dietary/supplemental zinc and prostate cancer risk”. The Open Urology and Nephrology Journal 1 (2008): 10.
  25. Epstein MM., et al. “Dietary zinc and prostate cancer survival in a Swedish cohort”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 93 (2011): 586-593.
  26. Mahmoud AM., et al. “Zinc Intake and Risk of Prostate Cancer: Case-Control Study and Meta-Analysis”. PLoS One 8 (2016): 11.  
  27. Taubes G. “Epidemiology faces its limits”. Science 269 (1995): 164-169.


Citation: Leslie C Costello and Renty B Franklin. “Zinc: The Wonder Drug for the Treatment of Carcinomas”.Acta Scientific Cancer Biology 4.5 (2020): 33-39.


Acceptance rate35%
Acceptance to publication20-30 days
Impact Factor1.183

Indexed In

News and Events

  • Certification for Review
    Acta Scientific certifies the Editors/reviewers for their review done towards the assigned articles of the respective journals.
  • Submission Timeline for Upcoming Issue
    The last date for submission of articles for regular Issues is July 10, 2024.
  • Publication Certificate
    Authors will be issued a "Publication Certificate" as a mark of appreciation for publishing their work.
  • Best Article of the Issue
    The Editors will elect one Best Article after each issue release. The authors of this article will be provided with a certificate of "Best Article of the Issue"
  • Welcoming Article Submission
    Acta Scientific delightfully welcomes active researchers for submission of articles towards the upcoming issue of respective journals.

Contact US