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Can Selenium Lower Risk of Advanced Prostate Cancer?
Date:4/9/2013

der Kutikov, an associate professor of urologic oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. "Enthusiasm [for selenium] was really dampened by that trial."

But that study looked at men with normal selenium levels when they entered the trial, and it did not focus on a specific type of prostate cancer. This latest study looked only at men who were deficient in selenium and tracked only cases of advanced prostate cancer, which is linked with a poor prognosis.

Among a group of almost 60,000 men aged 55 to 69 at the beginning of the study, the researchers found that men with the highest selenium levels, as measured in toenail clippings, had more than a 60 percent reduced risk for advanced prostate cancer.

Selenium levels in toenail clippings indicate long-term selenium intake, the researchers noted. The large trial from several years ago measured blood levels of the mineral, which reflects only recent exposure.

Still, the study is "hypothesis-generating at best," Kutikov said. Although the findings suggested an association between selenium levels and advanced prostate cancer risk, they did not prove a cause-and-effect link.

Geybels said the results could point the way to another trial assessing risk for advanced prostate cancer in men with low selenium levels.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on prostate cancer.

SOURCES: Milan Geybels, M.Sc., doctoral candidate, cancer epidemiology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Elise Cook, M.D., associate professor, clinical cancer prevention, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; Alexander Kutikov, M.D., associate professor, urologic oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia; April 9, 2013, presentation, American Association of Cancer Research annual meeting, Washington, D.C.


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