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December 25, 1996

Selenium and Cancer Prevention: Promising Results Indicate Further Trials Required

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.

JAMA. 1996;276(24):1984-1985. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540240062033

Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, morbidity and mortality from cancer continue to represent a major health burden. Given the potentially devastating consequences and the fear associated with a diagnosis of cancer, it is not surprising that physicians, patients, and the public may hold substantial optimism for and have considerable interest in seemingly simple and relatively easily implemented measures, such as dietary modification or use of vitamin and trace element supplementation, that appear rapidly effective for cancer prevention. Previous studies examining the potential effects of dietary supplements, such as antioxidant vitamins1,2 for prevention of cancer, have produced mixed results. In this issue of THE JOURNAL, Clark and colleagues3 present promising but preliminary findings from a randomized trial evaluating the possible effectiveness of selenium supplementation for cancer prevention.

See also p 1957.

The Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Study by Clark et al3 randomized 1312 patients to receive placebo