The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Community
Cancer Research Consortium (part of the Southwest Oncology Group [SWOG]) have
launched a major study examining the roles of vitamin E and selenium in the
prevention of prostate cancer. The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention
Trial, or SELECT, is expected to involve more than 32,000 men and will be the
largest study of its kind. It is expected to require 12 years to complete.
"SELECT is the first study designed to look directly at the effects of
vitamin E and selenium, both separately and together, in preventing
prostate cancer," said Patrick Flynn, MD, an oncologist/hematologist in
private practice and principal investigator for the Metro-MN Community Clinical
Oncology Program in Minneapolis, one of the sites for SELECT. "Previous
research involving vitamin E and selenium suggested that these nutrients might
prevent prostate cancer, but we don’t know for sure. When SELECT is finished,
we will know whether these supplements can prevent prostate cancer."
The new study is being conducted at more than 400 locations in the United
States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Although investigators will primarily study
healthy men who are 55 years of age or older, African-Americans as young as age
50 will be enrolled in light of the higher incidence and earlier onset of
disease in this population.
A Few Good Men
"It is crucial that men of all races and ethnic backgrounds participate
in SELECT," said Leslie Ford, md, associate director for clinical research
in NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention. "And since African-American men
have the highest incidence of prostate cancer in the world, we especially
encourage them to consider joining this trial."
Clinical Trial History
In a study of selenium to prevent nonmelanoma skin cancer in 1,000 men and
women, reported in 1996, investigators found that while the supplement did not
reduce skin cancer, it did decrease the incidence of prostate cancer in men by
more than 60%.
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