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Synergistic effect of vitamin E and selenium in human prostate cancer cell lines.

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Division of Urology, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Science Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Vitamin E and selenium are the two most popular dietary supplements used to prevent prostate cancer. The hypothesis that these antioxidants reduce prostate risk is being tested in the selenium and vitamin E chemoprevention trial (SELECT). We hypothesize that selenium potentiates vitamin E-induced inhibition of prostate cancer cell growth in vitro. Prostate cancer cell populations growing asynchronously were treated with a combination of vitamin E and selenium and processed for flow cytometric analysis. Prostate cancer cells treated with a combination of the antioxidants revealed that selenium potentiates vitamin E-induced inhibition of LNCaP cells in vitro. This was demonstrated by a reduction in the percentage of cells in the S phase. This crucial finding confirms our previous observations that antioxidant molecules act via distinct mechanistic pathways. These independent biological effects can be exploited in order to augment the anticancer properties of individual agents. These data also validate the two factorial design of the SELECT trial, permitting pairwise comparisons between agents in combination and alone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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