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J Natl Cancer Inst. 2018 Sep 1;110(9):1035-1038. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djy081.

Circulating Selenium and Prostate Cancer Risk: A Mendelian Randomization Analysis.

Author information

1
MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.
2
Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.
3
MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
4
University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, Translational Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia.
5
University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust National Institute for Health Research Bristol Nutrition Biomedical Research Unit, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

Abstract

In the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT), selenium supplementation (causing a median 114 μg/L increase in circulating selenium) did not lower overall prostate cancer risk, but increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes. Mendelian randomization analysis uses genetic variants to proxy modifiable risk factors and can strengthen causal inference in observational studies. We constructed a genetic instrument comprising 11 single nucleotide polymorphisms robustly (P < 5 × 10-8) associated with circulating selenium in genome-wide association studies. In a Mendelian randomization analysis of 72 729 men in the PRACTICAL Consortium (44 825 case subjects, 27 904 control subjects), 114 μg/L higher genetically elevated circulating selenium was not associated with prostate cancer (odds ratio [OR] = 1.01, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.89 to 1.13). In concordance with findings from SELECT, selenium was weakly associated with advanced (including high-grade) prostate cancer (OR = 1.21, 95% CI = 0.98 to 1.49) and type 2 diabetes (OR = 1.18, 95% CI = 0.97 to 1.43; in a type 2 diabetes genome-wide association study meta-analysis with up to 49 266 case subjects and 249 906 control subjects). Our Mendelian randomization analyses do not support a role for selenium supplementation in prostate cancer prevention and suggest that supplementation could have adverse effects on risks of advanced prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes.

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