Prostate Cancer on Trial--Selenium, Vitamin E Seen as Possible Preventive Agents

07/24/01    Portland, Ore.

Local researchers looking for volunteers for largest prostate prevention trial ever

Local researchers are looking for healthy men age 55 and older to participate in the largest prostate prevention trial ever. The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, or SELECT, will determine if these two dietary supplements can protect against prostate cancer, the most common form of cancer striking men after skin cancer.

Investigators at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research, Oregon Health & Science University and the Columbia River Oncology Program (CROP), representing Legacy Health System, Providence Health System and Southwest Washington Medical Center, are recruiting 400 local men for the 12-year study. More than 400 sites around the country will recruit a total of 32,400 men for this study, which is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the Southwest Oncology Group.

Selenium and vitamin E are naturally occurring antioxidants that have been shown in recent cancer studies to have some association with the prevention of prostate cancer. In a 1996 skin cancer study, selenium was found to reduce the incidence of prostate cancer by 60 percent, while a 1998 Finnish lung cancer study found that men who took vitamin E had a 32-percent reduced risk of prostate cancer.

The local co-investigators are:
• Mark Garzotto, M.D., OHSU School of Medicine
• Keith S. Lanier, M.D., CROP
• Nagendra Tirumali, M.D., Kaiser Permanente

The SELECT trial will divide participants into four groups that take either selenium, vitamin E, both supplements, or neither. Recruitment will take place during the next five years and men will be followed for up to 12 years each.

Researchers are particularly interested in recruiting African-American men for SELECT because the risk of prostate cancer is significantly higher in that population.

To be eligible for SELECT, a man must:
• Be at least 55 years of age (50 or older for African-Americans).
• Have never had prostate or any other cancer, except nonmelanoma skin cancer, in the last five years.
• Be in generally good health.

Those men interested in participating in this historic cancer prevention trial can call 503 216-6293, and they will be directed to either of the three locations.

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