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Decreased selenium levels associated with greater liver cancer risk

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

September 2 2016. The August 2016 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported the finding by European researchers of an association between decreased serum selenium and a higher risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer).

The case-control study involved participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study whose serum selenium and selenoprotein levels were measured upon enrollment. Over a ten year average follow-up period, 121 subjects were diagnosed with liver cancer.

For each 20 microgram per liter increase of serum selenium there was a 59% lower risk of developing liver cancer over follow up, and for each 1.5 milligram per liter increase in selenoprotein there was a 63% lower risk.

“We have been able to show that selenium deficiency is a major risk factor for liver cancer,” stated study coauthor Professor Lutz Schomburg of the Institute of Experimental Endocrinology at Charité–Universitätsmedizin in Berlin. “According to our data, the third of the population with lowest selenium status have a five- to ten-fold increased risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma – also known as liver cancer.”

“These findings from a large prospective cohort provide evidence that suboptimal selenium status in Europeans may be associated with an appreciably increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma development,” authors David J. Hughes and colleagues conclude.

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