Selenium compounds have a long history in chemoprevention of mammary and colon cancers in rodent models. Selenium compounds are in current clinical trials, having shown promise in prevention of prostate and other human cancers. In human tissues, it has been estimated that each cell sustains approximately 10 000 potentially mutagenic (if not repaired) lesions per day due to endogenous DNA damage. Almost no studies have addressed the potential for selenium compounds to induce DNA repair, a potential mechanism for their cancer-preventive actions. We show that selenium in the form of selenomethionine induces a DNA repair response in normal human fibroblasts in vitro, and protects cells from DNA damage. We show a possible mechanism for the inducible DNA repair response, in which enhanced repair complex formation was observed in selenomethionine-treated cells.