Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 16, Issue 9, pp 1125–1131

Intake of Selenium in the Prevention of Prostate Cancer: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis*

  • Mahyar Etminan
  • J. Mark FitzGerald
  • Martin Gleave
  • Keith Chambers

DOI: 10.1007/s10552-005-0334-2

Cite this article as:
Etminan, M., FitzGerald, J.M., Gleave, M. et al. Cancer Causes Control (2005) 16: 1125. doi:10.1007/s10552-005-0334-2


Background Recent studies have suggested that selenium intake may prevent the risk of developing prostate cancer. Results from some of these studies have given conflicting results. Because of these discrepant results we sought to explore the association between selenium intake and prostate cancer by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature.

Methods: We systematically searched MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Library between 1966 and May 2005 for articles that examined the association between intake of selenium and the risk of prostate cancer. We abstracted the data from relevant studies. A random effects model was used to estimate pooled relative risks for both cohort and case–control studies. Heterogeneity was assessed graphically using a Funnel Plot.

Results: Sixteen studies (eleven cohort studies and five case–control studies) were included in the final analysis. The pooled relative risk of prostate cancer for any intake of selenium was 0.72 (0.61–0.84) for cohort studies and 0.74 (0.61–1.39) for case–control studies. The pooled relative risk of moderate intake was 0.74 (0.61–0.90) for cohort studies and 0.74 (0.39–1.39) for case–control studies. A dose-response trend was observed when we stratified the studies by disease severity.

Conclusion: The results of our systematic review suggest that selenium intake may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The results confirm the need for large randomized controlled trials, which are ongoing, to answer this question.


meta-analysispreventionprostate cancerselenium

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahyar Etminan
    • 1
    • 4
  • J. Mark FitzGerald
    • 2
  • Martin Gleave
    • 3
  • Keith Chambers
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Clinical EpidemiologyRoyal Victoria HospitalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation, Vancouver Hospital, and Faculty of MedicineUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of Urology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of British Columbia and The Prostate Center, Vancouver General HospitalCanada
  4. 4.Center for Clinical Epidemiology and EvaluationVancouver HospitalVancouverCanada