Esophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer death worldwide, and the five-year survival rate does not exceed 20%.
It is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, as it is localized and metastasized to the adjacent lymph nodes. 75% of patients with esophageal cancer are presented with lymph node metastases.
According to researchers from the College of Nursing and and Health Innovation of the University of Texas, zinc-rich foods, as well as zinc dietary supplements can help stop the proliferation of esophageal cancer cells.
Previous studies have shown that zinc protects the esophagus from cancer, but the way was not understood.
Researchers have now discovered that zinc selectively inhibits the growth of cancer cells but not of normal esophageal epithelial cells.
The new study is the first to reveal that zinc prevents hyperactive calcium signals from cancer cells, which are absent from normal cells, and so zinc selectively inhibits cancer cell growth.
Zinc-rich foods include spinach, linseed, beef, mushrooms, banana, egg yolk, legumes, pumpkin seeds and seafood such as shrimps.