Excess Zinc in Muscles Contributes to Wasting Syndrome in Cancer

A new study led by Swarnali Acharyya, PhD, a faculty member of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, sheds light on the causes behind cachexia, a debilitating muscle-wasting syndrome that affects an estimated 80 percent of advanced cancer patients. As reported by Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC), nearly one-third of all cancer deaths are caused not by the disease itself but by cachexia, a condition that remains poorly understood. 

Dr. Acharyya, assistant professor of pathology and cell biology at CUIMC, suggests in the study that an overload of zinc in patients’ muscles may be the culprit. The findings were recently published in Nature Medicine and could pave the way for the development of drugs to treat or prevent muscle wasting in cancer patients. Visit the CUIMC Newsroom for the full article.