, 13:214,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 29 Apr 2013

Can selenium levels act as a marker of colorectal cancer risk?



Selenium has attracted attention because of its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protects cells from damage. Certain breakdown products of selenium are believed to prevent tumor growth by enhancing the immune cell activity and suppressing the development of tumor blood vessels. In this observational study, selenium level was measured in a series of patients from Poland and Estonia to determine a correlation between levels of this microelement and colorectal cancer risk.


A total of 169 colorectal cancer patients and 169 healthy controls were enrolled in the study after obtaining their informed consent. Selenium level in the blood serum was measured using Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (GFAAS). The statistical analysis was performed by Fisher’s exact test.


The threshold point of selenium level was 55 μg/l and 65 μg/l for Poland and Estonia respectively, for an increase in cancer risk. The lower levels of selenium were associated with greater risk of colorectal cancer.


The result reveals a significant strong association between low selenium level and the colorectal cancer risk in both Estonian and Polish populations.