Selenium May Prevent Some Bladder Cancers
Dec 8, 2008 - 3:18:48 PM

Selenium, a trace element found in grains, nuts and meats, may help prevent high-risk bladder cancer.

Dartmouth Medical School researchers compared selenium levels in 767 individuals newly diagnosed with bladder cancer with the levels of 1,108 individuals from the general population.

Findings showed an inverse association between selenium and bladder cancer among women, some smokers and those with p53 positive bladder cancer.

In the entire study population, there was no inverse association between selenium and bladder cancer, but women -, moderate smokers - and those with p53 positive cancer - had significant reductions in bladder cancer with higher rates of selenium.

'There are different pathways by which bladder cancer evolves and it is thought that one of the major pathways involves alterations in the p53 gene,' said study co-author Margaret Karagas, professor of community and family medicine of the Norris Cotton Cancer Centre at Dartmouth.

'Bladder cancers stemming from these alternations are associated with more advanced disease,' she said, according to a release of the Cancer Centre.

While other studies have shown a similar association between selenium and bladder cancer among women, this study is one of the first to show an association between selenium and p53 positive bladder cancer.

'Ultimately, if it is true that selenium can prevent a certain subset of individuals, like women, from developing bladder cancer, or prevent certain types of tumours such as those evolving through the p53 pathway, from developing, it gives us clues about how the tumours could be prevented in the future and potentially lead to chemopreventive efforts,' Karagas said.

The study was published in the December issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

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