Williams Cancer Institute

Selenium: A Key Element with Anti-cancer

Selenium A Key Element with Anti cancer

Selenium: A Key Element with Anti-cancer and Immunotherapy Boosting Functions.  The Only Problem Is It’s Not the Selenium You are Taking

Selenium plays a vital role in many biological processes and has been shown to enhance immunotherapy’s ability for cancer to work better potentially.  When we look at selenium, the more active metabolite is methylselenol.  Three forms of selenium convert to methylselenol. These are methylselenocysteine (MSC), selenomethionine (SM), and methylselenic acid.  Only the first two, MSC and SM, are found in typical selenium supplements.  Of those two, MSC is more effective in converting to the most active form.  However, cancer may have low enzyme levels that convert MSC into the active form, making it less effective.  The form of selenium that is most effective in converting to the active form is methylselenic acid (MSA).   The fact that MSA seems to be the most effective is reflected in the scientific literature. A wealth of articles show almost all the anti-cancer and cancer prevention is associated with MSA.  I would suggest that you go on Pub Med and do a search on your own.   Yan et al. published a study titled “Dietary supplementation with methylseleninic acid, but not selenomethionine reduces spontaneous metastasis of Lewis lung carcinoma.”

The big question is if most of the studies point to MSA as being the most effective, why is it not the form of selenium given to patients or offered in any supplement?  The answer to this question remains elusive.  At first, you would think maybe it is a toxicity issue, but that does not seem to be the case.  The other is a cost issue; that is partially true; MSA is more expensive now, but not so far out of range.  I would personally rather spend more to buy something that works.  I have been working on this, and hopefully, soon, we can have MSA available for our patients.  We are also injecting MSA directly into cancer by image guidance, combined with immunotherapy.

Methylselenic acid has a long history of direct anti-cancer effects, along with cancer prevention.  In addition, of extreme importance to cancer patients on immunotherapy, it regulates immune receptors and can be an essential key to treatment success.  As I mentioned in my book, “The Immunotherapy Revolution,” selenium supplementation could reverse treatment failure for patients receiving PD-1 inhibitors such as Opdivo and Keytruda. Don’t let a simple common element be the reason your cancer immunotherapy treatment fails.

Jason R Williams, MD, DABR


REFERENCES The main cytotoxic effects of methylseleninic acid on various cancer cells. Varlamova EG, Turovsky EA.Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jun 21;22(12):6614. doi: 10.3390/ijms22126614.PMID: 34205571 Methylseleninic acid overcomes programmed death-ligand 1-mediated resistance of prostate cancer and lung cancer. Hu W, Ma Y, Zhao C, Yin S, Hu H.Mol Carcinog. 2021 Nov;60(11):746-757. DOI: 10.1002/mc.23340. Epub 2021 Aug 19.PMID: 34411338 Selenium stimulates the antitumor immunity: Insights to future research. Razaghi A, Poorebrahim M, Sarhan D, Björnstedt M.Eur J Cancer. 2021 Sep;155:256-267. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2021.07.013. Epub 2021 Aug 13.PMID: 34392068 

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

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