Zinc just so happens to be an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Epidemiologic studies suggest that zinc deficiency may be associated with increased risk of cancer. Zinc supplementation is associated with decreased oxidative stress and improved immune function, which may be among the possible mechanisms for its cancer preventive activity.
Zinc is needed for the enzymes that regulate cell division, growth, wound healing, and proper functioning of the immune system. Zinc is an essential co-factor in a variety of cellular processes including DNA synthesis, behavioral responses, reproduction, bone formation, growth and wound healing. Zinc is a component of insulin and it plays a major role in the efficiency of most of the functions of the body.
Zinc is necessary for the free-radical quenching activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), a powerful antioxidant enzyme which breaks down the free-radical superoxide to form hydrogen peroxide. Zinc is required for the proper function of T-lymphocytes. Zinc is required for proper functioning of genetics, immunity, formation of red blood cells, organ, muscle and bone function, cell membrane stability, cell growth, division, differentiation and genetics. Importantly, zinc is vital for the metabolism of Vitamin A.
Dr. Mei at the Anhui Medical University, in China, suggests that some aspects of immune function can be enhanced by treatment with zinc. He suggests it would be “reasonable to expect that zinc is instrumental in restoring failing immunocompetence of cancer patients. Mei studied the influence of zinc and selenium-zinc upon the immune function (T-cells, granulocytes and NK cells) of cancer patients. The results showed that immune response was strengthened.
 Prasad AS, Kucuk O. Zinc in cancer prevention. Department of Medicine (Division of Hematology-Oncology), Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine Detroit, MI 48201, USA. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2002;21(3-4):291-5.
 Mei W et al. Study of immune function of cancer patients influenced by supplemental zinc or selenium-zinc combination. Biol Trace Elem Res; 28(1):11-9. Jan 1991.