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      Copper Deficiency Mimicking Myelodysplastic Syndrome: Zinc Supplementation in the Setting of COVID-19


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          While copper deficiency is rare, it can have serious consequences, including pancytopenia and neuropathy. This treatable micronutrient deficiency can present very similarly to myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a group of myeloid neoplasms which can carry devastating prognoses. Copper deficiency is an essential differential diagnosis in suspected MDS, as it can present with similar laboratory findings, bone marrow biopsy, and clinical picture. While copper deficiency has multiple potential causes, it typically occurs in patients with a predisposing gastrointestinal pathology. One possible cause of copper deficiency is zinc overload. Interestingly, zinc over-supplementation has been prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic, as some believe that zinc can help prevent COVID-19 infection. Multiple case reports have illustrated the similarities between copper deficiency and MDS. They have also highlighted zinc over-supplementation as a potential cause. The following case report is unique in that our patient lacked gastrointestinal pathology. He still presented with the clinical and laboratory findings of MDS in the setting of copper deficiency. These include anemia, leukopenia, fatigue, and neuropathy. Further, this deficiency was caused by zinc over-supplementation in efforts to prevent COVID-19. The deficiency and the accompanying symptoms were treated with copper supplementation and cessation of zinc intake.

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          Most cited references15

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          Definitions and standards in the diagnosis and treatment of the myelodysplastic syndromes: Consensus statements and report from a working conference.

          The classification, scoring systems, and response criteria for myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) have recently been updated and have become widely accepted. In addition, several new effective targeted drugs for patients with MDS have been developed. The current article provides a summary of updated and newly proposed markers, criteria, and standards in MDS, with special reference to the diagnostic interface and refinements in evaluations and scoring. Concerning the diagnostic interface, minimal diagnostic criteria for MDS are proposed, and for patients with unexplained cytopenia who do not fulfill these criteria, the term 'idiopathic cytopenia of uncertain significance' (ICUS) is suggested. In addition, new diagnostic and prognostic parameters, histopathologic and immunologic determinants, proposed refinements in scoring systems, and new therapeutic approaches are discussed. Respective algorithms and recommendations should facilitate diagnostic and prognostic evaluations in MDS, selection of patients for therapies, and the conduct of clinical trials.
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            Copper deficiency anemia: review article

            Copper is a crucial micronutrient needed by animals and humans for proper organ function and metabolic processes such as hemoglobin synthesis, as a neurotransmitter, for iron oxidation, cellular respiration, and antioxidant defense peptide amidation, and in the formation of pigments and connective tissue. Multiple factors, either hereditary or acquired, contribute to the increase in copper deficiency seen clinically over the past decades. The uptake of dietary copper into intestinal cells is via the Ctr1 transporter, located at the apical membrane aspect of intestinal cells and in most tissues. Copper is excreted from enterocytes into the blood via the Cu-ATPase, ATP7A, by trafficking the transporter towards the basolateral membrane. Zinc is another important micronutrient in animals and humans. Although zinc absorption may occur by direct interaction with the Ctr1 transporter, its absorption is slightly different. Copper deficiency affects physiologic systems such as bone marrow hematopoiesis, optic nerve function, and the nervous system in general. Detailed pathophysiology and its related diseases are explained in this manuscript. Diagnosis is made by measuring serum copper, serum ceruloplasmin, and 24-h urine copper levels. Copper deficiency anemia is treated with oral or intravenous copper replacement in the form of copper gluconate, copper sulfate, or copper chloride. Hematological manifestations are fully reversible with copper supplementation over a 4- to 12-week period. However, neurological manifestations are only partially reversible with copper supplementation.
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              Zinc, Vitamin D and Vitamin C: Perspectives for COVID-19 With a Focus on Physical Tissue Barrier Integrity

              Some nutrients play key roles in maintaining the integrity and function of the immune system, presenting synergistic actions in steps determinant for the immune response. Among these elements, zinc and vitamins C and D stand out for having immunomodulatory functions and for playing roles in preserving physical tissue barriers. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, nutrients that can optimize the immune system to prevent or lower the risk of severe progression and prognosis of this viral infection become relevant. Thus, the present review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the roles of zinc and vitamins C and D in the immune response to viral infections, focusing on the synergistic action of these nutrients in the maintenance of physical tissue barriers, such as the skin and mucous membranes. The evidence found in the literature shows that deficiency of one or more of these three elements compromises the immune response, making an individual more vulnerable to viral infections and to a worse disease prognosis. Thus, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the adequate intake of zinc and vitamins C and D may represent a promising pharmacological tool due to the high demand for these nutrients in the case of contact with the virus and onset of the inflammatory process. Ongoing clinical trials will help to clarify the role of these nutrients for COVID-19 management.

                Author and article information

                Case Rep Oncol
                Case Rep Oncol
                Case Reports in Oncology
                S. Karger AG (Basel, Switzerland )
                7 February 2023
                Jan-Dec 2023
                7 February 2023
                : 16
                : 1
                : 55-61
                [a ]Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Philadelphia, PA, USA
                [b ]Department of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA, USA
                [c ]Department of Medical Oncology, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Maya Rosenberg maya.rosenberg@ 123456students.jefferson.edu
                © 2023 The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel

                This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC) ( http://www.karger.com/Services/OpenAccessLicense). Usage and distribution for commercial purposes requires written permission.

                : 14 October 2022
                : 21 December 2022
                : 2023
                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 1, References: 15, Pages: 7
                No funding was required for this case report.
                Case Report

                Oncology & Radiotherapy
                cancer,case report,zinc supplementation,copper deficiency,myelodysplastic syndrome,anemia


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