Sunday, June 13, 2010

ASCO Presentation: Selenium and Vitamin E Do Not Prevent Prostate Cancer

The government-funded Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) included 36,000 men, each having a PSA of 4 or less, at many different medical centers, for 5.5 years, and cost $100 million dollars. The men took selenized yeast and vitamin E, or a placebo. Eight percent were smokers. Now seven years later, there is no evidence of a reduced risk of ANY cancer, especially prostate cancer, which the researchers expected would be reduced.

Other studies had suggested a benefit, and researchers don't know why it didn't appear. The presenter, Eric Klein MD, suggested that we may need to take a more comprehensive approach, evaluating the benefit of whole foods instead of discrete nutrients. He pointed to a rat study showing a benefit from tomato powder where there was no benefit from lycopene, the studied nutrient. Maybe a single nutrient only helps people who have a deficiency in that nutrient.

He closed by suggesting that such disappointing results might make it difficult to get another $100 million for the next study!

That's quiche in the middle. Sort of. Good stuff.

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