Impact of Selenium Supplementation in Neutropenia and Immunoglobulin Production in Childhood Cancer Patients

J Med Food. 2016 Jun;19(6):560-8. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2015.0145.


Essential to human health, selenium (Se) has enzymatic functions of fundamental importance to human biology due to its effects on DNA damage repair, its antioxidant properties, and cancer prevention. The best studied relationships between Se and the immune system is its role in the functions of neutrophils and of lymphocytes. Despite these observations, it is not yet clear by which mechanism Se is able to modify the immune status. This was a double-blind, crossover study: Group 1 received Se and Group 2 received placebo (30 days). After this, Group 1 received placebo and Group 2 received Se (30 days). Every 30 days, blood samples were collected for white blood cell count, red blood cell count, and Ig level measurement (IgA, IgG, IgE, IgM). Of the 36 patients, 17 were suffering from leukemia/lymphomas (LL) and 19 from solid tumors (ST). In the ST group's leukogram, a significant increase in neutrophils was observed after Se usage (P = .0192). During the analyzed period, Se minimized the triggering of neutropenia cases in both groups. IgA and IgG levels in ST patients were significantly higher than those identified in LL patients after Se usage (P = .0051 and P = .0055). For IgA, a significant increase in its production, after Se usage, was observed in the ST group when compared to the LL (P = .0011). The same did not occur to the IgM and IgE immunoglobulins. In our study, the supplementation with Se reduced the neutropenic cases (LL and ST patients) and reduced IgG and IgA levels in LL and increased in ST group.

Keywords: antioxidant activity; ascorbic acid; cancer; dietary supplementation; dietary-induced hyperlipidemia; glutathione; malondialdehyde; selenium.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Neutropenia / drug therapy*
  • Neutropenia / metabolism
  • Selenium / administration & dosage*
  • Young Adult


  • Immunoglobulins
  • Selenium