Authors: J. Millos, M. Costas-Rodríguez, Lavilla, Carlos Bendicho
Journal: Analytica Chimica Acta, 622: 77-84, 08/2008
A microwave-assisted digestion method amenable to analysis of small size biological samples (<30 mg dry mass) has been optimized for determining twelve elements (Ag, As, Cd, Co, Cu, Cr, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Se and Zn) by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) in breast cancerous and non-cancerous biopsies. The use of three small volume PTFE closed vials (6-mL capacity) placed inside a conventional microwave vessel allows to drastically diminishing the volume of acid needed for digestion. A Plackett–Burman experimental design was used to evaluate the robustness of the digestion procedure. Effects of nitric acid volume, need for predigestion step, microwave power and digestion time were assessed. No significant effects were found, the digestion method being robust enough to be recommended for a routine practice. The method was successfully validated against CRM BCR 185 (bovine liver), CRM NRCC TORT-2 (lobster hepatopancreas), CRM NRCC DORM-2 (dogfish muscle) and CRM NRCC DOLT-2 (dogfish liver). Procedural detection limits ranged from 0.54 to 40 ng g−1. Within-batch precision values were less than 3%, whereas between-batch precision values were in the range 2–11%. Forty-seven biopsies from thirty-nine women were analyzed: 20 samples corresponding to mammoplasties from healthy women and 27 samples from patients suffering from cancer pathology, 19 of which corresponded to tumour and 8 to adjacent normal tissue. After applying parametric and non-parametric statistical tests, a significant accumulation of Cu, Mn, Zn and Se in cancerous tissues was demonstrated.