Effects of selenium status and polymorphisms in selenoprotein genes on prostate cancer risk in a prospective study of European men

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010 Nov;19(11):2958-68. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-10-0364. Epub 2010 Sep 17.


Background: Evidence for an association between selenium status and prostate cancer risk is still inconclusive. Anticarcinogenic effects of selenium are supposedly mediated through cellular protective and redox properties of selenoenzymes in vivo. We evaluated the association between serum selenium status and prostate cancer risk in a population with relative low selenium concentrations considering effect modification by genetic variants in selenoprotein genes.

Materials and methods: A case-control study of 248 incident prostate cancer cases and 492 matched controls was nested within the EPIC-Heidelberg cohort. Baseline blood samples were analyzed for serum selenium and selenoprotein P concentrations and glutathione peroxidase activity. Genotyping was carried out for SEP15 (rs5859, rs540049), SEPP1 (rs3877899, rs7579), GPX1 (rs1050450), and GPX4 (rs713041). Conditional logistic regression was used to calculate adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).

Results: The OR for prostate cancer was 0.89 (95% CI, 0.79-1.01) per 10 μg/L increase of serum selenium concentration. This association was modified by rs1050450 (C>T) in GPX1 (P(interaction) = 0.03), with carriers of one or two T alleles having a significantly reduced OR of 0.87 (95% CI, 0.76-0.99). Furthermore, there was an association between rs7579 genotype in SEPP1 and prostate cancer risk (OR, 1.72; 95% CI, 0.99-2.98).

Conclusions: Our results support a role of selenium and polymorphisms in selenoenzymes in prostate cancer etiology, which warrants confirmation in future studies.

Impact: These findings might help to explain biological effects of selenium in prostate cancer development in order to overcome inconsistencies arising from former studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Europe
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genotype
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Risk Factors
  • Selenium / blood*
  • Selenoproteins / blood
  • Selenoproteins / genetics*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Selenoproteins
  • GPX3 protein, human
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Selenium