Individuals with Barrett's esophagus have a greater risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma than the general population.
Higher serum selenium levels have been associated with a reduced risk of several cancers. However, their association with the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma is unknown.
In this study, researchers from the United States, investigated the relationship between serum selenium levels and markers of neoplastic progression in Barrett's esophagus.
The team included 399 Barrett's esophagus patients undergoing endoscopic surveillance.
|Subjects with serum selenium levels >1.5 µM were less likely to have high-grade dysplasia.|
|Journal of the National Cancer Institute|
They collected medical history, blood, and esophageal tissue specimens.
In addition, serum selenium levels were measured by flameless atomic absorption spectrophotometry.
The researchers also measured the DNA content of tissue samples using flow cytometry.
They also detected loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at 9p and 17p, chromosomal regions which include the p16 and p53 tumor suppressors, respectively, by automated fluorescent genotyping.
The researchers found that subjects with serum selenium levels in the upper 3 quartiles (>1.5 µM) were less likely to have high-grade dysplasia (OR = 0.5). They were also less likely to have aneuploidy (OR = 0.4), than those with levels in the lowest quartile.
Serum selenium levels in the upper 3 quartiles were also associated with similar reductions in risk of 17p (p53) LOH (OR = 0.5), and increased 4N fraction (OR = 0.6).
By contrast, serum selenium levels were not associated with 9p (p16) LOH (OR = 1.0), a marker that appears early in neoplastic progression.
Dr Rebecca Rudolph's team concluded, "Our preliminary results…suggest that higher serum selenium levels may be associated with a reduced risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma among persons with Barrett's esophagus".
"Because serum selenium was not associated with 9p (p16) LOH, we speculate that selenium may act primarily at later stages of progression toward adenocarcinoma".