Written by Gabriele Dennert and the CAM-Cancer Consortium.
Updated October 20, 2013

Selenium prevention

Evidence tables

Please view the PDFs listed below for details of the systematic reviews and/or controlled clinical trials included in this summary.

Table 1: Systematic review of selenium for the prevention of cancer

Citation Gabriele Dennert, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Selenium prevention [online document]. http://ws.cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Dietary-approaches/Selenium-prevention. October 20, 2013.


  1. Rayman MP, Infante HG, Sargent M. Food-chain selenium and human health: spotlight on speciation. Br J Nutr 2008; 100: 238-53.
  2. Dietay supplement fact sheet: Selenium. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/ (accessed 01/10/2012).
  3. Selenium. In: FAO & WHO: Human vitamin and mineral requirements. Report of a joint FAO/WHO expert consultation, Bangkok, Thailand. 2002. http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/004/Y2809E/y2809e0l.htm#bm21.1 (accessed 01/10/2012).
  4. National Cancer Institute: Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention: Fact Sheet http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/antioxidants (last access 29/06/2013).
  5. Arnaud J, Bertrais S, Roussel AM, Arnault N, Ruffieux D, Favier A, Berthelin S, Estaquio C, Galan P, Czernichow S, et al. Serum selenium determinants in French adults: the SU.VI.M.AX study. Br J Nutr 2006; 95(2): 313-20.
  6. Burri J, Haldimann M, Dudler V. Selenium status of the Swiss population: Assessment and change over a decade. J Trace Elem Med Biol 2008; 22(2): 112-9.
  7. Kvieala J, Zamrazil V, Jiranek V. Selenium Deficient Status of Inhabitants of south Moravia. In: Kumpulainen JT, Salonen JT (Ed.). Natural Antioxidants and Food Quality in Atherosclerosis and Cancer Prevention. Cambridge: The Royal Society of Chemistry; 1996. 177-87.
  8. Klapcinska B, Poprzecki S, Danch A, Sobczak A, Kempa K. Selenium levels in blood of upper silesian population: evidence of suboptimal selenium status in a significant percentage of the population. Biol Trace Elem Res 2005; 108(1-3): 1-16.
  9. Vinceti M, Rovesti S, Bergomi M, Vivoli G. The epidemiology of selenium and human cancer. Tumori 2000; 86(2):105-18.
  10. Rayman MP. The use of high-selenium yeast to raise selenium status: how does it measure up? Br J Nutr 2004; 92(4): 557-73.
  11. http://iom.edu/Activities/Nutrition/SummaryDRIs/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Nutrition/DRIs/ULs%20for%20Vitamins%20and%20Elements.pdf
  12. WHO 2004: Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Human Vitamin and Mineral Requirements (1998): Bangkok T. Vitamin and mineral requirements in human nutrition : report of a joint FAO/WHO expert consultation, Bangkok, Thailand, 21-30 September 1998. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2004/9241546123.pdf 2004.
  13. Reilly C. Selenium in food and health. 2nd Edition. New York: Springer 2006. here: pp. 46ff.
  14. Rayman, MP: Selenium and human health. Lancet 2012; 379: 1256–68.
  15. Fairweather-Tait SJ, Bao Y, Broadley MR, Collings R, Ford D, Hesketh JE, Hurst R: Selenium in Human Health and Disease. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling 2011; 14: 1337-1383
  16. Lee JH, Shin SH, Kang S, Lee YS, Bae S: A novel activation-induced suicidal degradation mechanism for Akt by selenium. Int J Mol Med. 2008; 21: 91–97.
  17. Li Z, Shi K, Guan L, Cao T, Jiang Q, Yang Y, Xu C: ROS leads to MnSOD upregulation through ERK2 translocation and p53 activation in selenite-induced apoptosis of NB4 cells. FEBS Lett. 2010; 584(11): 2291-7.
  18. OTC ingredients. search for “selenium” via: http://www.aesgp.eu/facts-figures/otc-ingredients/ (last access29/06/2013).
  19. Dennert G, Zwahlen M, Brinkmann M, Vinceti M, Zeegers MPA, Horneber MA. Selenium for preventing cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2011; 11(5): CD005195. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005195.pub2
  20. Lee, EH, Myung, SK, Jeon, YJ, Kim, Y, Chang, YJ, Ju, W, Seo, HG, Huh, BY: Effects of selenium supplements on cancer prevention: Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr Cancer 2011; 63: 1185-1195.
  21. Dreno B, Euvrard S, Frances C, Moyse D, Nandeuil A: Effect of selenium intake on the prevention of cutaneous epithelial lesions in organ transplant recipients. Eur J Dermatol 2007; 17: 140-145.
  22. Li H, Li HQ, Wand Y, Xu HX, Fan WT, Wang ML, Sun PH, Xie XY: An intervention study to prevent gastric cancer by micro-selenium and large dose of allitridum. Chin Med J 2004; 117: 1155-1160.
  23. Yu SY, Zhu YJ, Li WG, Huang QS, Huang CZ, Zhang QN, Hou C: A preliminary report on the intervention trials of primary liver cancer in high-risk populations with nutritional supplementation of selenium in China. Biol Trace Elem Res 1991; 29: 289-294.
  24. Reid ME, Duffield-Lillico AJ, Slate E, Natarajan N, Turnbull B, Jacobs E, Combs GF, Jr., Alberts DS, Clark LC, Marshall JR. The nutritional prevention of cancer: 400 mcg per day selenium treatment. Nutr Cancer 2008; 60(2): 155-63.
  25. Lippman SM, Klein EA, Goodman PJ, et al: Effect of Selenium and Vitamin E on Risk of Prostate Cancer and Other Cancers: The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT). JAMA 2009; 301(1):39-51
  26. Sutter ME, Thomas JD, Brown J, Morgan B. Selenium toxicity: a case of selenosis caused by a nutritional supplement. Ann Intern Med 2008;148(12): 970-1.
  27. SCF (Scientific Committee on Food): Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of Selenium. 2000. http://ec.europa.eu/food/fs/sc/scf/out80g_en.pdf (last access 29/06/2013).
  28. Stranges S, Marshall JR, Natarajan R, Donahue RP, Trevisan M, Combs GF, Cappuccio FP, Ceriello A, Reid ME: Effects of Long-Term Selenium Supplementation on the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med 2007; 147:217-223.
  29. See KA, Lavercombe PS, Dillon J, Ginsberg R. Accidental death from acute selenium poisoning. Med J Aust 2006; 185(7): 388-9.
  30. Sandström B: Micronutrient interactions: effects on absorption and bioavailability. Br J Nutr 2001; 85: S181-S185.