BACKGROUND: A previous clinical trial showed that selenium supplementation significantly reduced the incidence of prostate cancer. We report here a bioinformatics approach to gain new insights into selenium molecular targets that might be relevant to prostate cancer chemoprevention. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We first performed data mining analysis to identify genes which are consistently dysregulated in prostate cancer using published datasets from gene expression profiling of clinical prostate specimens. We then devised a method to systematically analyze three selenium microarray datasets from the LNCaP human prostate cancer cells, and to match the analysis to the cohort of genes implicated in prostate carcinogenesis. Moreover, we compared the selenium datasets with two datasets obtained from expression profiling of androgen-stimulated LNCaP cells. RESULTS: We found that selenium reverses the expression of genes implicated in prostate carcinogenesis. In addition, we found that selenium could counteract the effect of androgen on the expression of a subset obtained from androgen-regulated genes. CONCLUSIONS: The above information provides us with a treasure of new clues to investigate the mechanism of selenium chemoprevention of prostate cancer. Furthermore, these selenium target genes could also serve as biomarkers in future clinical trials to gauge the efficacy of selenium intervention.
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