Preventive medical laboratory assessment (Health Risk Profile) & the nutritional assessment of the cancer patient.

Davies, S. Presented at the World Congress on Cancer, Sydney, Australia. April 1994 Recent laboratory animal and human clinical and epidemiological studies demonstrate that a range of micronutrients play a protective role in a wide range of degenerative diseases including cancer. The various methods used in our laboratory for assessing an individual’s nutritional status are discussed, including water soluble vitamins, carotenoids, vitamin E, amino-acids and essential fatty acids, as well as a range of functional tests of antioxidant status and susceptibility to peroxidation and the degree of lipoperoxidation. Results are presented of a recent study on nutritional assessment and the effects of a rationalised parenteral feeding regime on biochemical nutritional parameters in patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation. Also discussed are the potential liabilities of giving relatively high doses of zinc supplements to patients with malignancy, and the relationship between zinc and metallothionein induction in normal and malignant cells. A new method of evaluating metallothionein is described, as is its application in clinical practice in the management of cancer patients.