Vidyya Medical News Service
Volume 6 Issue 329 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 24-Nov-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 25-Nov-2004
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Inverse association found between selenium and colorectal cancer

A study in the 17 November Journal of the National Cancer Institute has found an inverse relationship between selenium blood levels and adenoma recurrence risk. Researchers from the Arizona Cancer Center, in collaboration with other cancer centers and government agencies such as NCI, CDC, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as medical and public health schools across the country, found that higher blood selenium concentrations in study participants were associated with lower risk for developing recurrent adenomas.

This study was funded by grants from the U.S. Public Health Service as well as NCIís Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in gastrointestinal cancer.

Selenium received attention as a possible cancer preventive agent after initial findings of a trial that examined its effects on nonmelanoma skin cancer.

Other epidemiological studies have had mixed results; some have shown selenium to have a protective effect against colorectal cancer, while others have found no association. However, most individual studies analyzed small sample sizes, resulting in greater variability of results. This study pooled data from three separate studies in order to increase the precision of risk estimates.

Selenium concentrations were measured and baseline characteristics were tabulated from a total of 1,763 blood specimens from trial participants.

Adenoma recurrence was analyzed for each study, as well as for the pooled population. In the pooled analysis, a linear decrease in the odds of adenoma recurrence was reported with increasing blood selenium levels higher than 100 ng/ml, and a statistically significant inverse relationship was observed between blood selenium levels and adenoma recurrence.

Researchers concluded that, based on study results, selenium has a role in reducing the risk of colorectal adenoma recurrence.

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