Journal List > Ewha Med J > v.40(1) > 1058700

Ewha Med J. 2017 Jan;40(1):17-21. Korean.
Published online Jan 31, 2017.
Copyright © 2017. Ewha Womans University School of Medicine
Anticancer Effect of Selenium
Joohyun Woo and Woosung Lim
Department of Surgery, Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital, Ewha Womans University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Corresponding author: Woosung Lim. Department of Surgery, Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital, Ewha Womans University School of Medicine, 1071 Anyangcheon-ro, Yangcheon-gu, Seoul 07985, Korea. Tel: 82-2-2650-5896, Fax: 82-2-2644-7984, Email:
Received January 03, 2017; Accepted January 04, 2017.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Selenium is an essential microelement in animals including human. Selenium plays an important role in cellular functions such as deoxygenation and detoxification. Also, it can be used in treatment of cardiac disease, hepatic disease, AIDS and various cancers. Recent meta-analysis showed that high selenium exposure was associated with decreased risk of several cancers. Selenium has an effect on anticarcinogesis through several mechanisms, which are regulation of cell cycles, apoptosis, DNA damage and repair, inhibition of cellular adhesion and migration, anti-angiogenesis and immune modulation. Even though many laboratory studies have provided convincing evidence of these mechanisms, results from epidemiologic and clinical studies of selenium does not coincide with each other. Well-designed trials considering dosage and chemical form of selenium supplement as well as confounding factors and long-term follow-up of them would be needed to use selenium in chemoprevention and therapy of cancers.

Keywords: Selenium; Chemoprevention; Neoplasms

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