Cancer Prevention Program

Prospective Study of Selenium, Genetics of Selenoenzymes and Colorectal Cancer

PI: Ulrike Peters, PhD

The overall goal of this study is to assess the role of the essential element selenium on colorectal cancer in a large cohort of women. Both human and animal studies suggest that intake of selenium is associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer but most epidemiologic studies have been small and few have addressed risk in women. Selenium is a critical component of a number of selenoenzymes that have antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, i.e. glutathione peroxidases or selenoprotein P, and thus may be important in preventing colorectal cancer.

This study is based on the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study, a prospective cohort of almost 94,000 postmenopausal women. We investigate whether high serum selenium concentrations are associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer, and test whether genetic variability in selenoenzymes are associated with enzyme activity and a subsequent risk of colorectal cancer. We hope that results will improve our understanding of the role of selenium in colorectal cancer development and of the molecular mechanisms that underlie selenium effects.

For questions or additional information please contact:

Ulrike Peters, PhD MPH
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
1100 Fairview Ave. N., M4-B402
P.O. Box 19024
Seattle, WA 98109-1024
Phone: (206) 667-2450
Email address: