Selenium and Cancer: from Prevention to Treatment


Authors: J. Brozmanová
Authors‘ workplace: Laboratórium molekulárnej genetiky, Ústav experimentálnej onkológie SAV, Bratislava, Slovenská republika
Published in: Klin Onkol 2011; 24(3): 171-179
Category: Reviews

Overview

Selenium (Se) is an essential dietary component for all animals, including human beings, that is regarded as a protective agent against cancer. Although the mode of its anticancer action is not yet fully understood, several mechanisms, such as antioxidant protection through selenoenzymes, stimulation of DNA repair, and apoptosis in tumor prestages have all been proposed. Despite the unsupported results of the last ”SELECT“ trial, the cancer-preventing activity of Se has been demonstrated in a majority of epidemiological studies. Moreover, recent studies suggest that Se has a potential to be used not only in cancer prevention but also in cancer treatment, where in combination with other anticancer drugs or radiation it may increase the efficacy of cancer therapy. In combating cancer cells, Se acts as a prooxidant rather than an antioxidant, inducing apoptosis through the generation of oxidative stress. Thus, inorganic Se compounds, having high redox potency, represent a promising option in cancer therapy.

Key words:
selenium – cancer prevention – selenoproteins – cancer treatment – oxidative stress

This study was supported by the VEGA grant agency of the Slovak Republic (No. 2/6082/26).

The author declares she has no potential conflicts of interest concerning drugs, products, or services used in the study.

The Editorial Board declares that the manuscript met the ICMJE “uniform requirements” for biomedical papers.


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