Background: Evidence of the chemopreventive effects of the dietary antioxidants alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) and l-selenomethionine (selenium) comes from secondary analysis of two phase III clinical trials that found treatment with these antioxidants reduced the incidence of prostate cancer. To determine the effects of selenium and vitamin E in blood and prostate tissue, we undertook a preoperative feasibility study complementary to the currently ongoing Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial.
Methods: Forty-eight patients with clinically localized prostate cancer enrolled on this 2 x 2 factorial design study were randomized to take selenium, vitamin E, both, or placebo for 3 to 6 weeks before prostatectomy. Sera were collected from patients before and after dietary supplementation. Thirty-nine patients were evaluable, and 29 age-matched disease-free men served as controls. Mass profiling of lipophilic serum proteins of lower molecular weight (2-13.5 kDa) was conducted, and mass spectra data were analyzed using custom-designed software.
Results: Weighted voting analyses showed a change in sera classification from cancerous to healthy for some patients with prostate cancer after dietary intervention. ANOVA analysis showed significantly different treatment effects on prediction strength changes among the four groups at a 95% confidence level. Eliminating an outlying value and performing post hoc analysis using Fisher's least significant difference method showed that effects in the group treated with the combination were significantly different from those of the other groups.
Conclusion: In sera from patients with prostate cancer, selenium and vitamin E combined induced statistically significant proteomic pattern changes associated with prostate cancer-free status.