NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
November 4, 2008 • Volume 5 / Number 22 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Featured Article

Selenium and Vitamin E Fail to Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk

Participants in the largest-ever prostate cancer prevention trial are receiving letters instructing them to stop taking their study pills, the supplements vitamin E and selenium, after an independent review concluded that the trial will not meet its primary endpoint of reducing prostate cancer risk by 25 percent. The 35,000 participants in the NCI-funded Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) are being asked to continue in the study for approximately 3 more years.

It is important to keep following SELECT participants for a number of reasons, explained Dr. Eric Klein, director of the Center for Urologic Oncology at the Cleveland Clinic and one of the trial's co-chairs. "There is a small chance of a ‘lag effect' of one or both supplements, meaning that their impact on rates of prostate or other cancers may not be apparent for a few more years," he said.

The SELECT executive committee made the decision on the study medications based on the recommendation of the trial's Data Safety Monitoring Committee (DSMC). In its most recent review of the data in mid-September, the DSMC concluded that, with participants having been on their study medications for 5 years on average, there was little chance that one or both supplements would reduce the number of cases of prostate cancer. The review also revealed trends of increased prostate cancer risk with the use of vitamin E and increased adult-onset diabetes risk with the use of selenium, neither of which were statistically significant.   Read more  

Clinical Research Highlights

Additional Genes Tied to Lung Cancer

A large-scale survey of genetic changes in lung tumors has identified 26 frequently altered genes in the most common form of the disease, lung adenocarcinoma. The discovery, reported in the October 23 Nature, increases the number of genes associated with lung cancer and expands the base of knowledge about the genetics of this deadly disease.

The Tumor Sequencing Project, a group of academic researchers funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute, analyzed more than 600 genes in 188 lung tumors for noninherited mutations as well as gains and losses of DNA. Their integrated analysis supports the view of cancer as a disease in which core biological pathways may be altered by various types of changes in multiple genes.   Read more  


The NCI Cancer Bulletin is produced by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI, which was established in 1937, leads the national effort to eliminate the suffering and death due to cancer. Through basic, clinical, and population-based biomedical research and training, NCI conducts and supports research that will lead to a future in which we can identify the environmental and genetic causes of cancer, prevent cancer before it starts, identify cancers that do develop at the earliest stage, eliminate cancers through innovative treatment interventions, and biologically control those cancers that we cannot eliminate so they become manageable, chronic diseases.

For more information on cancer, call 1-800-4-CANCER or visit http://www.cancer.gov.

NCI Cancer Bulletin staff can be reached at ncicancerbulletin@mail.nih.gov.