Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia have come a step closer to understanding seleniums molecular role in causing prostate cancer cells to self-destruct. According to data presented today at the 96th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Anaheim, Calif., selenium helps malignant cells overcome their resistance to TRAIL-induced apopstosis (self-inflicted cell death). Previous studies had shown that TRAIL, a cytotoxic agent being investigated as a new therapeutic agent for cancer, causes malignant cells to self-destruct. Yet some cells resist the treatment.
"Therefore, agents that sensitize malignant cells to TRAIL-mediated cell death might be of particular importance for the development of novel anti-tumor therapeutic regimens," said lead researcher Vladimir M. Kolenko M.D., Ph.D.
Selenium, a non-metallic trace element essential to human health, could be just that agent. "Selenium and vitamin E are the most promising dietary supplements considered for use in the reduction of prostate cancer risk," Kolenko said. "This enthusiasm is reflected in the initiation of the large National Cancer Institute sponsored trial - SELECT (Selenium and Vitamin E Chemoprevention Trial). The epidemiologic studies within SELECT will be based on 32,000 men."
Colleen Kirsch | EurekAlert!
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