Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease

Dec. 9 -- MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Selenium, a trace mineral found in grains, nuts and meats, may help prevent high-risk bladder cancer, a U.S. study finds.

Dartmouth Medical School researchers compared selenium levels in 767 newly diagnosed bladder cancer cases to levels in 1,108 people without the disease. While there was no link between selenium and bladder cancer in the overall study population, higher rates of selenium were associated with reductions in bladder cancer among women, moderate smokers and patients with p53 positive bladder cancer.

The findings were published in the December issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

"There are different pathways by which bladder cancer evolves, and it is thought that one of the major pathways involves alterations in the p53 gene. Bladder cancers stemming from these alternations are associated with more advanced disease," study corresponding author Margaret Karagas, a professor of community and family medicine at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center, said in an American Association for Cancer Research news release.

Previous research has shown a similar association between selenium and bladder cancer in women, but this study is one of the first to identify a link between selenium and p53 positive bladder cancer.

"Ultimately, if it is true that selenium can prevent a certain subset of individuals, like women, from developing bladder cancer, or prevent certain types of tumors, such as those evolving through the p53 pathway, from developing, it gives us clues about how the tumors could be prevented in the future and potentially lead to chemopreventive efforts," Karagas said.

The researchers hope to replicate their findings in a larger study to further examine the association between selenium and bladder cancer in women and patients with p53 tumors.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about bladder cancer.

SOURCE: American Association for Cancer Research, news release, Dec. 8, 2008