, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 105-110

Serum selenium level and other risk factors for breast cancer among patients in a Malaysian hospital

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The aim of this study is to investigate the association between breast cancer and serum selenium level as well as other risk factors for breast cancer.


A matched case-control study was conducted in a hospital in Malaysia from July 2000 to January 2001 and from May 2001 to June 2001. Sixty-two newly diagnosed breast cancer patients were selected as the cases. Each control, selected from the same hospital population was matched to each case according to age, ethnic group, and menopausal status.


The mean selenium concentration among the cases was significantly lower than that among the control. There was a significant association (p<0.05) between breast cancer and low selenium serum level, nulliparity (OR=5.5,95% CI=1.22 to 24.81), exposure to cigarette smoke (OR=2.2, 95% CI=1.04 to 4.65) and use of oral contraceptives (OR=3.0, 95% CI=1.09 to 8.25) as determined by the McNemar test. Multivariate analysis showed that nulliparity (OR=10.08, 95% CI=1.48 to 68.52) and use of oral contraceptives (OR=3.66, 95% CI=1.36 to 9.87) were associated with increased breast cancer risk. An increased selenium concentration contributes to a reduced risk of breast cancer (OR=0.89, 95% CI=0.84 to 0.94).


The results suggest that use of oral contraceptive pills, being nulliparous, and a low serum selenium level are associated with breast cancer.