Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 457–464 | Cite as

Serum selenium and pancreatic cancer: a prospective study in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Trial cohort

  • Sharmila ChatterjeeEmail author
  • Gerald F. CombsJr.
  • Amit Chattopadhyay
  • Rachael Stolzenberg-SolomonEmail author
Original Paper



Pancreatic cancer(PCa) is one of the most lethal cancers with few known consistent nutrition-related risk factors. Epidemiologic associations between the trace element selenium and PCa are inconsistent. This study examined the association of pre-diagnostic serum selenium with incident PCa.


We conducted a nested case–control study within the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Study (PLCO) cohort of men and women 55–70 years old at baseline (1993–2001). In total, 303 PCa cases developed during the 17-year follow-up period (1993–2009). We selected two controls (n = 606) for each case who were alive at the time the case was diagnosed who were matched on age, sex, race, and date of blood draw. We used conditional logistic regression analysis to calculate the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) adjusting for smoking status and diabetes mellitus.


Mean serum selenium concentrations were slightly lower in cases (mean, 95% CI: 139.0 ng/ml, 135.6–138.9) compared to controls (142.5 ng/ml, 140.4–142.4, p = 0.08). Overall, serum selenium was not associated with PCa risk (continuous OR: 0.66; 0.32–1.37). There was no significant interaction by sex, smoking, diabetes, or follow-up time (p > 0.05).


Our results do not support the hypothesis that serum selenium is associated with PCa risk.


Selenium Pancreatic cancer Cancer prevention Case–control study Humans 



This work was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants and the study was approved by Institutional Review Boards of all ten participating centers and the US National Cancer Institute..


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and GeneticsNational Cancer InstituteRockvilleUSA
  2. 2.Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research CenterGrand ForksUSA
  3. 3.School of Dental MedicineCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  4. 4.La TrobeLa Trobe University Rural Health SchoolMelbourneAustralia

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