Decreased incidence of prostate cancer with selenium supplementation: results
of a double-blind cancer prevention trial.
British Journal of Urology. 81(5):730-4, 1998 May.
OBJECTIVE: To test if supplemental dietary selenium is associated with
changes in the incidence of prostate cancer. PATIENTS AND METHOD: A total of
974 men with a history of either a basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma were
randomized to either a daily supplement of 200 microg of selenium or a
placebo. Patients were treated for a mean of 4.5 years and followed for a
mean of 6.5 years. RESULTS: Selenium treatment was associated with a
significant (63%) reduction in the secondary endpoint of prostate cancer
incidence during 1983-93. There were 13 prostate cancer cases in the
selenium-treated group and 35 cases in the placebo group (relative risk,
RR=0.37, P=0.002). Restricting the analysis to the 843 patients with
initially normal levels of prostate-specific antigen (< or = 4 ng/mL), only
four cases were diagnosed in the selenium-treated group and 16 cases were
diagnosed in the placebo group after a 2 year treatment lag, (RR=0.26
P=0.009). There were significant health benefits also for the other secondary
endpoints of total cancer mortality, and the incidence of total, lung and
colorectal cancer. There was no significant change in incidence for the
primary endpoints of basal and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. In light
of these results, the 'blinded' phase of this trial was stopped early.
CONCLUSIONS: Although selenium shows no protective effects against the
primary endpoint of squamous and basal cell carcinomas of the skin, the
selenium-treated group had substantial reductions in the incidence of
prostate cancer, and total cancer incidence and mortality that demand further
evaluation in well-controlled prevention trials.
Additional comment by poster:
Don't get your hopes up too much. Well controlled prevention trials
cost a lot of money and selenium being non-patentible is not a
profitable enough commodity to generate much cash for research.
Two years have gone by and these results have not been followed up,
nor is there any prospect in the near future.
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