Listed in Issue 20


CARINCI and FELISATTI, Cattedra di Chirurgia Maxillo-Facciale, Universita degli Studi, Ferrara review the evidence regarding the role of selenium in the prevention of oral and head and neck cancer. The authors write that during normal cellular metabolism, free oxygen radicals, which are extremely toxic, are constantly generated. However, these are rapidly eliminated by a series of metabolic steps involving certain enzymes including superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase a selenium dependent enzyme. The hypothesis that free oxygen radicals may have carcinogenic properties may explain the link between low selenium levels and increased cancer morbidity. Therefore a correct selenium concentration in the blood plasma may represent a form of chemioprevention. The authors state that the concept of chemioprevention of carcinogenesis with inhibitory chemical compounds is particularly relevant to head and neck squamous cell cancer control because the incidence of metachronous second primary tumours in surviving patients with oral cancer is very high.






Carinci F and Felisatti P. Selenium and oral cancer. Review of the literature. Minerva Stomatol 45(78): 3458. Jul-Aug 1996.

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