Neither selenium nor vitamin E supplements reduce risk for prostate cancer

Following an independent, initial review of the study data, the National Cancer Institute and the Southwest Oncology Group have stopped the 35,000-man SELECT study (Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial). Apparently the supplements were not effective together or on their own in this four-arm trial.

Details about the the reasons for stopping the trial are sketchy at present, but they include “two concerning, but not statistically significant, trends: there were slightly more cases of prostate cancer in men taking only vitamin E and slightly more cases of diabetes in men taking only selenium.”

Although trial participants are being told to cease using the supplements, they will continue to have their helath monitored for a further three years. In the words of Dr. Eric Klein of the Cleveland Clinic, “As we continue to monitor the health of these 35,000 men, this information may help us understand why two nutrients that showed strong initial evidence to be able to prevent prostate cancer did not do so.”

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