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Last Call to Enroll in M. D. Anderson Prostate Cancer Prevention Study

Last Call to Enroll in M. D. Anderson Prostate Cancer Prevention Study
May 12 Last Day to Enroll in Largest-Ever Prevention Study
M. D. Anderson News Release 05/06/04

If you’re interested in helping researchers learn how to prevent prostate cancer for future generations of men, there is one more chance to enroll in the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT).

Wednesday, May 12, 2004, is the last day for potential participants to call The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and enroll in SELECT.

The purpose of SELECT is to determine whether selenium and vitamin E, alone or in combination, can prevent prostate cancer, the third leading cancer killer in men. In other words, can taking a pill prevent prostate cancer?

SELECT is closing two years early due to the enthusiastic response of eligible men to the study’s early recruitment efforts.

“The enrollment of the desired number of participants - 32,400 throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico - is unprecedented and encouraging,” says Scott M. Lippman, M.D., chair of M. D. Anderson’s Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention and a national SELECT study coordinator.

M. D. Anderson has been one of 428 participating sites in North America recruiting men to the largest cancer prevention study ever conducted.

“In less than three years - of an expected five-year recruitment period - participating sites have contributed to a pace-setting enrollment effort,” Lippman says. “Reaching this huge recruitment goal so quickly is remarkable. This accomplishment is a tribute to the men who have volunteered to participate and to focused recruitment communications efforts.”

Since the study began in July 2001, M. D. Anderson has enrolled more than 325 men, including 27 percent African-American participation.

Nationally, the African-American recruitment goal was 20 percent. Previous large-scale studies have averaged less than 4 percent minority participation. 

SELECT targeted enrollment of African-American men because they are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and are twice as likely to die from the disease than men of any other racial or ethnic background, says Elise D. Cook, M.D., SELECT principal investigator at M. D. Anderson and national chair of the SELECT Minority and Medically Underserved Committee.

"Given the alarming statistics associated with prostate cancer in this population, SELECT placed a strong emphasis on recruiting African-Americans to participate,” she says.

SELECT is the first study designed to look specifically at the effects of vitamin E and selenium, both separately and together, in preventing prostate cancer, Cook says.

“We don't have all the answers now, but previous research has shown that vitamin E and selenium may provide some protection against prostate cancer,” she says. Although prior studies focused on other types of cancer, a benefit emerged for prostate cancer.

Selenium and vitamin E are naturally occurring antioxidants commonly found in foods. These nutrients are capable of neutralizing molecules known as “free radicals” that might otherwise damage the genetic material of cells and possibly lead to cancer. These nutrients were chosen for study because of the results of two other large-scale cancer prevention clinical trials. Earlier studies indicated these antioxidants may be beneficial, but researchers must look at them directly to get accurate data, Cook says.

Despite progress in the early detection and treatment of the disease, about 230,100 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during 2004, according to the American Cancer Society. About 29,900 men are expected to die from the disease this year. 

Prospective SELECT participants must be healthy males who are at least 55 years old – 50 if African-American – and never diagnosed with prostate cancer. All participants take vitamin supplements and/or placebos daily for seven to 12 years, returning to M. D. Anderson every six months for follow-up visits.

For more information or to join SELECT before enrollment closes, visit the Web site at or call the "SELECT line" at M. D. Anderson at (713) 794-4400. Additional information is available from the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER.  Both numbers offer information in English and Spanish.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center