eISSN: 1897-4309
ISSN: 1428-2526
Contemporary Oncology/Współczesna Onkologia
Current issue Archive Contemporary Oncology

Selenium as a marker of cancer risk and of selection for control examinations in surveillance

Marcin Lener, Magdalena Muszyńska, Anna Jakubowska, Katarzyna Jaworska-Bieniek, Grzegorz Sukiennicki, Katarzyna Kaczmarek, Katarzyna Durda, Tomasz Gromowski, Pablo Serrano-Fernández, Józef Kładny, Anna Wiechowska-Kozłowska, Tomasz Grodzki, Ewa Jaworowska, Jakub Lubiński, Barbara Górecka-Szyld, Grażyna Wilk, Tomasz Huzarski, Tomasz Byrski, Cezary Cybulski, Jacek Gronwald, Tadeusz Dębniak, Olgierd Ashuryk, Aleksandra Tołoczko-Grabarek, Antoni Morawski, Rodney J. Scott, Jan Lubiński

Contemp Oncol (Pozn) 2015; 19 (1A): A60–A61
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Selenium as a marker of selection for control examinations in surveillance

There are literature data which clearly demonstrate that identification of low selenium levels can by useful in disease surveillance by such methods as computerised tomography for detection of lung cancers and in colonoscopy for detection of early stage colorectal cancers. More than 20 studies have shown that low serum selenium levels are related to an increased risk of lung cancer. Studies performed by our centre, which evaluated the level of selenium in the serum of 86 patients with lung cancer and 86 healthy controls, have also shown a strong correlation between selenium level and cancer. Among lung cancer cases, the mean selenium level was 63.2 µg/l compared to a mean level of 74.6 µg/l for their matched controls. A 10-fold reduced risk of lung cancer was also observed in individuals with serum selenium > 80 µg/l as compared to those patients whose serum Se levels were < 60 µg/l [1]. Between 2008-2011 in Szczecin – a single city of four hundred thousand inhabitants in North-West Poland – a programme for early detection of lung cancer was conducted. The enrolment criteria included both sexes, aged 55–65 years, who had a history of at least 20 pack-years of tobacco smoking. The latest addition to the protocol of this programme in 2012 was the inclusion of preselection of participants by measurement of their serum selenium levels. Only individuals with a low selenium level (< 75 µg/l) were invited for computerised tomography scans. This new addition to the protocol resulted in more than doubling the detection rate of lung cancers [2]. There are also about 10 studies that suggest a protective effect of selenium on colorectal adenoma/carcinoma development. In a Polish-Estonian study that evaluated the effect of selenium on the risk of colorectal cancer in 169 cancer cases and 169 healthy controls, a more than 13-fold increased risk of colorectal cancer was found in patients with serum Se levels < 40 µg/l compared to patients whose serum Se levels were > 72 µg/l [3].
Generally, there appears to be little doubt that low selenium level is associated with increased risk of cancer; however, the optimal serum selenium levels can be different for particular populations/countries. For example, in the U.S. the serum level of selenium associated with the lowest risk of colorectal adenomas is > 150 µg/l. Such differences between Europe and America can...

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selenium, marker of cancer risk, surveillance

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