Medical applications of X-ray fluorescence for trace element research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Techniques for estimation of element levels directly in humans (noninvasive in vivo) or in samples (in vitro) from humans are reviewed. Toxic, nonessential, trace elements may cause temporary or permanent damage to various organs and tissues in humans. There is thus a need to control the concentrations. Knowledge of the relations between toxic effects and element concentration may be extracted from measurements in humans as well as in samples from humans and her environment. Applications traditionally include occupationally exposed subjects, but an increasing research area is studies of members of the general population and of patients undergoing therapy for malignant and other diseases. Most in vivo XRF studies deal with lead in bone and cadmium in kidneys. For retired lead workers, a clear association has been demonstrated between bone lead and blood lead, due to endogenous lead excretion from the skeleton. A study of mercury in vivo showed that the technique is capable of detecting mercury in heavily exposed worker's kidneys. In vivo XRF in cancer and rheumatology patients has helped to understand how platinum and gold are retained in the human body. The newest in vivo applications include zinc in prostate gland and arsenic in skin. (c) 2007 International Centre for Diffraction Data.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging


  • mercury, lead, cadmium, X-ray fluorescence, in vivo, iodine
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-137
JournalPowder Diffraction
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch