Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Clin Cancer Res. 2004 Apr 1;10(7):2561-9.

Selective modulation of the therapeutic efficacy of anticancer drugs by selenium containing compounds against human tumor xenografts.

Author information

Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York 14263, USA.



Studies were carried out in athymic nude mice bearing human squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (FaDu and A253) and colon carcinoma (HCT-8 and HT-29) xenografts to evaluate the potential role of selenium-containing compounds as selective modulators of the toxicity and antitumor activity of selected anticancer drugs with particular emphasis on irinotecan, a topoisomerase I poison.


Antitumor activity and toxicity were evaluated using nontoxic doses (0.2 mg/mouse/day) and schedule (14-28 days) of the selenium-containing compounds, 5-methylselenocysteine and seleno-L-methionine, administered orally to nude mice daily for 7 days before i.v. administration of anticancer drugs, with continued selenium treatment for 7-21 days, depending on anticancer drugs under evaluation. Several doses of anticancer drugs were used, including the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and toxic doses. Although many chemotherapeutic agents were evaluated for toxicity protection by selenium, data on antitumor activity were primarily obtained using the MTD, 2 x MTD, and 3 x MTD of weekly x4 schedule of irinotecan.


Selenium was highly protective against toxicity induced by a variety of chemotherapeutic agents. Furthermore, selenium increased significantly the cure rate of xenografts bearing human tumors that are sensitive (HCT-8 and FaDu) and resistant (HT-29 and A253) to irinotecan. The high cure rate (100%) was achieved in nude mice bearing HCT-8 and FaDu xenografts treated with the MTD of irinotecan (100 mg/kg/week x 4) when combined with selenium. Administration of higher doses of irinotecan (200 and 300 mg/kg/week x 4) was required to achieve high cure rate for HT-29 and A253 xenografts. Administration of these higher doses was possible due to selective protection of normal tissues by selenium. Thus, the use of selenium as selective modulator of the therapeutic efficacy of anticancer drugs is new and novel.


We demonstrated that selenium is a highly effective modulator of the therapeutic efficacy and selectivity of anticancer drugs in nude mice bearing human tumor xenografts of colon carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. The observed in vivo synergic interaction is highly dependent on the schedule of selenium.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center