The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) found no reduction in risk of prostate cancer with vitamin E supplements.
As a follow-up, researchers in the US determined the long-term effect of vitamin E and selenium in relatively healthy men.
First, the details.
35,533 men with no evidence of prostate cancer were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
Selenium (200 mcg/day) + vitamin E placebo
Vitamin E (400 IU/day) + selenium placebo
Selenium + vitamin E
Placebo forms of selenium and vitamin E
Participants were followed for at lease 7 years and maximum of 12 years.
And, the results.
Compared with placebo, there was a significant increased risk of prostate cancer with vitamin E but not with selenium or the combination.
The men taking vitamin E had a 17% increased risk of prostate cancer compared to men taking placebo.
The bottom line?
In 2008, SELECT researchers found that selenium and vitamin E, taken alone or together for an average of 5.5 years, did not prevent prostate cancer. Men in the study were told to stop taking their study supplements because of this lack of benefit
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.