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Until now, there was a widespread belief in the scientific community that correcting a selenium deficit in marginally supplied individuals provides health benefits. The vast majority of published analyses in this respect report a positive correlation or no interaction. For example, Nawrot et al. in 2007 concluded that relative selenium deficit might constitute an underestimated risk factor for the development of high blood pressure, especially in European men, and Lubos et al. reasoned in 2010 that low selenium concentrations were associated with risk of future cardiovascular death in patients with acute coronary syndrome.


There ist increasing interest in using selenium for prevention of cancer or other serious diseases or for treatment of prevention of side effects from an effective oncological therapy.

Design and method:

Our own prospective randomized trial studied the use of a selenium supplement in selenium deficient female cancer patients receiving pelvic irradiation for gynecological tumors. It was possible to improve and balance the pre-existing selenium deficiency by supplementing 500 ug sodium selenite per day orally during the five to six weeks of radiotherapy.


The supplementation reduced the number of episodes and severity of radiation-associated diarrhoe. With regard to possible hypertensinogenic effects of selenium, hypertension or other cardiovscular events were not observed; instead, selenium efficiently reduced some side effects of the radiation treatment. In the long-term follow-up of more than five years, we observed even a small but statistically significant advantage of overall survival in the patient group reveiving seleniujm supplementation without any detectable cardiovascular disadvantage.


These findings are of clinical importance as cardiovascular events belong to the main causes of mortalities in tumor patients, apart from the cancer mortality itself.

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