OHSU Researchers Taking Part in Nationwide Prostate Cancer Prevention Study

03/19/03    Portland, Ore.

Researchers encourage local men to participate

Oregon Health & Science University researchers are studying healthy men aged 55 and older to determine if selenium and vitamin E can protect against prostate cancer. The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, or SELECT, is one of the largest prostate cancer prevention studies ever undertaken. OHSU is one of more than 400 SELECT study sites across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Earlier studies suggest the benefits of both selenium and vitamin E in reducing prostate cancer. However, a large, formal study looking at the effects of selenium and vitamin E, taken separately or together, has never been done before now. Selenium and vitamin E are naturally occurring antioxidants.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in American men other than skin cancer. Experts expect that in 2003, about 220,900 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 28,900 men will die of the disease.

Researchers are especially interested in encouraging African-American men to enroll in the study to determine why this population is more than twice as likely than any other racial or ethnic group to develop prostate cancer.

To be eligible for SELECT, a man must:

  • If he's African-American, be 50 or older.
  • If he's not African-American, be at least 55.
  • Never have been diagnosed with prostate or any other cancer, except non-melanoma skin cancer in the last five years.
  • Be in generally good health.

Men wishing to find out more about enrolling in SELECT should contact Paula Fry, R.N., OHSU at 503 494-5601.

"I currently can't tell my patients that we can prevent prostate cancer with a particular diet, pill or some other intervention," said Mark G. Garzotto, M.D.,- a member of the OHSU Cancer Institute and director of urologic oncology at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. "In addition to giving us information about prostate cancer biology, this study may enable us to offer preventive strategies to our sons and nephews."

The 12-year study began in July 2001. Researchers expect to enroll 300 men at the OHSU study site. The total number of SELECT study volunteers is expected to be 32,400. Participants will have a 25 percent chance of receiving selenium, a 25 percent chance of receiving vitamin E, a 25 percent chance of receiving both selenium and vitamin E, and a 25 percent chance of receiving a placebo.

The study is coordinated regionally among OHSU; Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research; the Columbia River Oncology Program (CROP), representing Legacy Health System; Providence Health System; and Southwest Washington Medical Center. SELECT is funded by the National Cancer Institute. The Southwest Oncology Group coordinates SELECT.

SELECT study principal investigator: Mark G. Garzotto, M.D. IRB #0471-730, VA IRB # 02-0202.

Mark Garzotto
, M.D., is an assistant professor of urology in the OHSU School of Medicine, director of urologic oncology at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and a member of the OHSU Cancer Institute.