X-Message-Number: 14157
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 18:24:59 -0700 (PDT)
From: Doug Skrecky <>
Subject: selenium lowers prostate cancer risk

  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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