The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of selenium (Se) in the prevention of human primary liver cancer. Three intervention trials were conducted among the residents at high risk to primary liver cancer (PLC) in Qidong county, Jiang-su province, the People's Republic of China. This area has the second highest rate of PLC in China. One trial was undertaken among the general population in a township with supplement of table salt fortified with 15 ppm anhydrous sodium selenite (Se-salt) for 5 y and the other four townships with similar PLC incidence rate served as the controls using normal table salt. The second trial was undertaken among hepatitis B virus surface antigen carriers (HBVsAg+) receiving supplement of 200 micrograms Se in form of selenized yeast (Se-yeast) daily vs placebo for 4 y. The third trial was carried out in members of families with high PLC incidence using Se-yeast (200 micrograms of Se daily) vs placebo for 2 y. The results showed that nutritional supplement of Se could reduce the PLC incidence significantly.