Cancer mortality correlation studies--III: statistical associations with dietary selenium intakes

Bioinorg Chem. 1977;7(1):23-31. doi: 10.1016/s0006-3061(00)80126-x.


Age-corrected mortalities from cancer at 17 major body sites were correlated with the apparent dietary selenium intakes estimated from food-consumption data in 27 countries. Significant inverse correlations were observed for cancers of large intestine, rectum, prostate, breast, ovary, lung and with leukemia; weak inverse associations were found for cancers of pancreas, skin and bladder. Similar inverse corelations were found between cancer mortalities at the above sites and the selenium concentrations in whole blood collected from healthy human donors in the U.S. and different countries. The results support the hypothesis that selenium has cancer-protecting effects in man. Other studies are cited which demonstrate that selenium prevents or retards tumor development in animals. A change of diet aimed at increasing the dietary selenium supply is suggested as a possible means of lowering the human cancer risk. It is postulated that the cancer mortalities in the U.S. and other Western industrialized nations would decline significantly if the dietary selenium intakes were increased to approximately twice the current average amount supplied by the U.S. diet.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Selenium* / blood


  • Selenium