Selenium Deficiency Found to Accelerate Prostate Cancer

By Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS,

Prevention is a priority when it comes to prostate cancer. As the number one cancer killer of American men, prostate cancer has a 34% survival rate if it has spread to other parts of the body.1 But because of “potential problems” with current screening tests,2 attention needs to be paid to dealing with prostate cancer once it has been diagnosed.

The focus on nutrition’s role in prostate cancer has thus far focused primarily on prevention, with spinach,3 broccoli,4 red wine,5 green tea,6 soy,7 vitamin E,8 lycopene9 and avoidance of processed foods10 all demonstrating effectiveness. Now a new study11 has found that one mineral may halt the progression of prostate cancer.

As a mineral that has demonstrated protective effects against colon cancer,12 selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health. The government has suggested a daily intake of 70 mcg for most healthy people, but a dose of 200+ mcg per day is considered safe.(13,14) Selenium is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins that are important antioxidant enzymes which help prevent cellular damage from free radicals.15 It is these selenoproteins that now provide hope in halting the progression of prostate cancer.

In the study, researchers mated two mice, one that had reduced selenoproteins and another that develops prostate growth representing early events in cancer and closely resemble that of humans.16 They not only found that the selenoprotein-deficient mice exhibited “accelerated development” of lesions associated with prostate cancer progression, they found “clear evidence” that the decrease in selenoproteins in the prostate gland resulted in acceleration of prostate cancer in the mice and further implicated selenoproteins in cancer risk and development.

For the researchers, this study “rais[es] the possibility that selenium prevents cancer by modulating the levels of these selenoproteins.”

Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Danville, CA. You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at or visiting his website


1 “What Are The Key Statistics For Prostate Cancer?” posted on the American Cancer Society Website

2 “Can Prostate Cancer Be Found Early?” posted on the American Cancer Society Website

3 Asai, A., M. Terasaki, and A. Nagao, An epoxide-furanoid rearrangement of spinach neoxanthin occurs in the gastrointestinal tract of mice and in vitro: formation and cytostatic activity of neochrome stereoisomers. J Nutr, 2004. 134(9): p. 2237-43

4 Wang, L., et al., Targeting cell cycle machinery as a molecular mechanism of sulforaphane in prostate cancer prevention. Int J Oncol, 2004. 24(1): p. 187-92

5 Schoonen, W. M., C. A. Salinas, et al. (2005). “Alcohol consumption and risk of prostate cancer in middle-aged men.” Int J Cancer 113(1): 133-40

6 Chung, L. Y., T. C. Cheung, et al. (2001). “Induction of apoptosis by green tea catechins in human prostate cancer DU145 cells.” Life Sci 68(10): 1207-14

7 Hedelin M. Dietary Phytoestrogen, Serum Enterolactone and Risk of Prostate Cancer: The Cancer Prostate Sweden Study. Cancer Causes and Control 2006; 17(2): 169-180

8 Limpens J. Combined Lycopene and Vitamin E Treatment Suppresses the Growth of PC-346C Human Prostate Cancer Cells in Nude Mice J. Nutr. 2006 136: 1287-1293

9 Mohanty NK. Lycopene as a chemopreventive agent in the treatment of high-grade prostate intraepithelial neoplasia. Urologic Oncology 2006; 23(6): 383-385

10 Walker M, Aronson KJ, King W, et al. Dietary patterns and risk of prostate cancer in Ontario, Canada. International Journal of Cancer, Sep. 10, 2005;116:592-598

11 Diwadkar-Navsariwala V. PN Selenoprotein deficiency accelerates prostate carcinogenesis in a transgenic model AS 2006 103: 8179-8184

12 Peters U. High Serum Selenium and Reduced Risk of Advanced Colorectal Adenoma in a Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Program. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2006;15(2):315–20

13 Clark LC, Combs GF, Turnbull BW, et al. Effects of selenium supplementation for cancer prevention in patients with carcinoma of the skin. JAMA 1996;276:1957–63. Published erratum appears in JAMA 1997;277:1520.
14 Yoshizawa K, Willett WC, Morris SJ, et al. Study of prediagnostic selenium levels in toenails and the risk of advanced prostate cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 1998;90:1219–24.

15 Clark, L. C. Effects of selenium supplementation for cancer prevention in patients with carcinoma of the skin. A randomized controlled trial. Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Study Group J. Am. Med. Assoc 1996; 276, 1957–1963

16 Shibata, M. A., Ward, J. M., Devor, D. E., Liu, M. L. & Green, J. E. (1996) Cancer Res 56, 4894–4903




0 responses to “Selenium Deficiency Found to Accelerate Prostate Cancer”

Leave a Reply