A recent study of the effects of seleniumfor reducing the risk of prostatecancer has shown that high seleniumlevels can be beneficial in certain subgroupsof men. Researchers at theFred Hutchinson Cancer ResearchCenter in Seattle, Wash, studied subjectsinvolved with the Prostate, Lung,Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer ScreeningTrial. They compared prediagnosisblood samples from 724 men who laterdeveloped prostate cancer and a comparisongroup of 879 similar men whoremained free of the disease.
Upon enrollment in the study, all participantsanswered a questionnaireabout age, ethnicity, education, occupation,smoking history, cancer, andother diseases, as well as use of selecteddrugs and prostate-related healthfactors. Another questionnaire askedthe men about their food intake in the12 months prior to enrollment. Bothgroups were followed for 8 years. Ingeneral, no association was notedbetween serum selenium and reducedrisk of prostate cancer.
According to the study results, however,a higher level of serum seleniumwas associated with a reduced risk ofprostate cancer in men who had ahigher intake of vitamin E and multivitamin.Higher was defined as more thanthe average 28 international units perday. The subgroup of smokers alsobenefited from high selenium levelsand their effect on reducing prostatecancer risk. The results appeared in theJanuary 2007 issue of the AmericanJournal of Clinical Nutrition.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.