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BJU Int. 2003 May;91(7):608-12.

Selenium supplementation, baseline plasma selenium status and incidence of prostate cancer: an analysis of the complete treatment period of the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Trial.

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Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, USA.



To present the results (to January 1996, the end of blinded treatment) of the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer (NPC) Trial, a randomized trial of selenium (200 micro g daily) designed to test the hypothesis that selenium supplementation (SS) could reduce the risk of recurrent nonmelanoma skin cancer among 1312 residents of the Eastern USA.


Original secondary analyses of the NPC to 1993 showed striking inverse associations between SS and prostate cancer incidence. A subsequent report revealed that this effect was accentuated among men with the lowest baseline plasma selenium concentrations. The effects of treatment overall and within subgroups of baseline prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and plasma selenium concentrations were examined using incidence rate ratios and Cox proportional hazards models.


SS continued to significantly reduce the overall incidence (relative risk and 95% confidence interval) of prostate cancer (0.51, 0.29-0.87). The protective effect of SS appeared to be confined to those with a baseline PSA level of <or= 4 ng/mL (0.35, 0.13-0.87), although the interaction of baseline PSA and treatment was not statistically significant. Participants with baseline plasma selenium concentrations only in the lowest two tertiles (< 123.2 ng/mL) had significant reductions in prostate cancer incidence. A significant interaction between baseline plasma selenium and treatment was detected.


To the end of the blinded treatment the NPC trial continued to show a significant protective effect of SS on the overall incidence of prostate cancer, although the effect was restricted to those with lower baseline PSA and plasma selenium concentrations.

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