Is Low Selenium Status a Risk Factor for Lung Cancer?

Finnish Cancer Registry, Helsinki, Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
American Journal of Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 5.23). 12/1998; 148(10):975-82. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a009574
Source: PubMed


The hypothesis that low selenium may in some circumstances be a risk factor for lung cancer was investigated in a case-control study nested within a longitudinal study. Serum samples from 9,101 cancer-free individuals were collected and stored at -20 degrees C by the Finnish Mobile Clinic in 1968-1971 and 1973-1976. During follow-up until the end of 1991, 95 cases of lung cancer were diagnosed. Selenium concentrations were determined from the serum samples of the cases and 190 controls, individually matched for sex, age, and place of residence. Mean levels of serum selenium in cases and controls were 53.2 microg/liter and 57.8 microg/liter, respectively. The relative risk of lung cancer between the highest and lowest tertiles of serum selenium, adjusted for smoking, serum alpha-tocopherol, serum cholesterol, serum copper, serum orosomucoid, and body mass index (kg/m2), was 0.41 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.17-0.94). The association was stronger at lower levels (<5.9 mg/liter) of alpha-tocopherol (relative risk=0.24, 95% CI 0.07-0.85). The association was also pronounced among current smokers and at higher levels of serum orosomucoid and serum copper. The relative risk for smokers who were twice ranked in higher selenium tertiles, at an interval of 4-7 years, in comparison with smokers who remained in the lowest tertile was 0.16 (95% CI 0.04-0.74). In accordance with the hypothesis, the findings suggest that very low selenium status may contribute to the risk of lung cancer.

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Available from: Arpo Aromaa, Mar 19, 2014
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    • "The evidence for a protective association appears to be relatively strong for cancer of the prostate, with null reports by Knecht (et al., 1998) and Ghadirian (et al., 2000), but 5 prospective studies (Willet et al., 1983; Nomura et al., 2000; Coates et al., 1988; Yoshizawa et al., 1998; Helzlsouer 2000) showing decreased risk among those with higher Se status. The mixed results of other studies (Knekt et al., 1998; Salonen et al., 1984; Salonen et al., 1985; Reinhold et al., 1989; Fex et al., 1987; Kok et al., 1987; Nomura et al., 1987; Comstock et al., 1997; Mark et al., 2000; Burney et al., 1989; Glattre et al., 1989; Vinceti et al., 1998; Breslow et al., 1995; Helzlsouer et al., 1989; Zheng et al., 1993) are based in many instances on relatively small numbers of subjects and deal with a wide range of other relatively uncommon cancers. These nonexperimental data received some support from a large experimental study conducted in a region of China with low micronutrient intake and elevated esophageal and gastric cardia cancer risk (Blot et al., 1993). "
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    ABSTRACT: Nonexperimental studies suggest that individuals with higher selenium (Se) status are at decreased risk of cancer. The Nutritional Prevention of Cancer (NPC) study randomized 1,312 high-risk dermatology patients to 200-mcg/day of Se in selenized yeast or a matched placebo; selenium supplementation decreased the risk of lung, colon, prostate, and total cancers but increased the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer. In this article, we report on a small substudy in Macon, GA, which began in 1989 and randomized 424 patients to 400-mcg/day of Se or to matched placebo. The subjects from both arms had similar baseline Se levels to those treated by 200 mcg, and those treated with 400-mcg attained plasma Se levels much higher than subjects treated with 200 mcg. The 200-mcg/day Se treatment decreased total cancer incidence by a statistically significant 25%; however, 400-mcg/day of Se had no effect on total cancer incidence.
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    • "As with an earlier study of Willet et al. (1983), evidence was found of an interaction between Se and other antioxidant vitamins, with the protective effect of Se being particularly high in subjects with a relatively low dietary intake of b-carotene or vitamin C. Subsequent studies have tended to provide mixed and inconclusive results. For example, a nested case–control study conducted on a large cohort of subjects in Finland, where dietary levels of Se are low, provided good evidence of enhanced risk of lung cancer amongst smokers with low plasma Se levels (Knekt et al. 1998). However, other prospective studies have provided only weak non-significant evidence of an inverse relationship between Se status and risk of lung cancer. "
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    Full-text · Article · Dec 2004 · Proceedings of The Nutrition Society
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