The nutritional prevention of cancer: 400 Mcg per day selenium treatment

Mary E. Reid, Anna J. Duffield-Lillico, Elizabeth Slate, Nachimuthu Natarajan, Bruce Turnbull, Elizabeth Jacobs, Gerald F. Combs, David S. Alberts, Larry C. Clark, James R. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Nonexperimental studies suggest that individuals with higher selenium (Se) status are at decreased risk of cancer. The Nutritional Prevention of Cancer (NPC) study randomized 1,312 high-risk dermatology patients to 200-mcg/day of Se in selenized yeast or a matched placebo; selenium supplementation decreased the risk of lung, colon, prostate, and total cancers but increased the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer. In this article, we report on a small substudy in Macon, GA, which began in 1989 and randomized 424 patients to 400-mcg/day of Se or to matched placebo. The subjects from both arms had similar baseline Se levels to those treated by 200 mcg, and those treated with 400-mcg attained plasma Se levels much higher than subjects treated with 200 mcg. The 200-mcg/day Se treatment decreased total cancer incidence by a statistically significant 25%; however, 400-mcg/day of Se had no effect on total cancer incidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-163
Number of pages9
JournalNutrition and cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Oncology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cancer Research


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