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Nutrients. 2015 May 13;7(5):3536-56. doi: 10.3390/nu7053536.

Redox-active selenium compounds--from toxicity and cell death to cancer treatment.

Author information

1
Division of Pathology F46, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm 141 86, Sweden. sougat.misra@ki.se.
2
Department of Nutritional Sciences, College of Human Sciences, Texas Tech University, P.O. Box 41270, Lubbock, TX 79409-1270, USA. mallory.boylan@ttu.edu.
3
Division of Pathology F46, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm 141 86, Sweden. arun.selvam@ki.se.
4
Department of Nutritional Sciences, College of Human Sciences, Texas Tech University, P.O. Box 41270, Lubbock, TX 79409-1270, USA. Julian.Spallholz@ttu.edu.
5
Division of Pathology F46, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm 141 86, Sweden. Mikael.Bjornstedt@ki.se.

Abstract

Selenium is generally known as an antioxidant due to its presence in selenoproteins as selenocysteine, but it is also toxic. The toxic effects of selenium are, however, strictly concentration and chemical species dependent. One class of selenium compounds is a potent inhibitor of cell growth with remarkable tumor specificity. These redox active compounds are pro-oxidative and highly cytotoxic to tumor cells and are promising candidates to be used in chemotherapy against cancer. Herein we elaborate upon the major forms of dietary selenium compounds, their metabolic pathways, and their antioxidant and pro-oxidant potentials with emphasis on cytotoxic mechanisms. Relative cytotoxicity of inorganic selenite and organic selenocystine compounds to different cancer cells are presented as evidence to our perspective. Furthermore, new novel classes of selenium compounds specifically designed to target tumor cells are presented and the potential of selenium in modern oncology is extensively discussed.

KEYWORDS:

antioxidants; cancer; cytotoxicity; selenium; selenoproteins; tumor

PMID:
25984742
PMCID:
PMC4446766
DOI:
10.3390/nu7053536
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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