Selenium is a promising cancer chemoprevention agent. A recent randomized controlled chemoprevention trial found that selenomethionine (SeMet) supplementation for 10 months favorably effected a change in esophageal dysplasia grade among participants who started the trial with mild dysplasia. To further explore the role of SeMet in this trial, we compared gene expression profiles by treatment group using Affymetrix HU 133A chips in before/after supplementation paired normal esophageal biopsies from a subset of 29 trial participants, 16 who received SeMet, and 13 who received placebo. Using P < 0.001 as a cutoff, 11 differentially expressed genes were found in the SeMet supplementation group but these genes did not include either known selenoprotein genes or genes previously shown to be modulated by selenium treatment. Because the number of differentially expressed genes (n = 11) was less than expected by chance (n = 18), we concluded that SeMet supplementation had no measurable effect on gene expression in the normal squamous esophagus of these subjects with dysplasia.
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