Beebe Medical Center Recruits Prostate Cancer Trial Participants
The Tunnell Cancer Center is helping to set a new pace for recruitment to clinical trials and is holding an informational meeting for a prostate cancer trial on Monday, May 24, 2004. In less than three years, the Tunnell Cancer Center and 428 other sites enrolled 32,400 men for the largest-ever prostate cancer prevention trial, SELECT (the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial), sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and conducted by a network of researchers coordinated by the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG). In 2004, approximately 230,110 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 29,900 will die of the disease. It is the most common form of cancer, after skin cancer, in men.
The Tunnell Cancer Center hopes to reach additional men in our community interested in participating in prostate cancer prevention research and will hold a SELECT Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial informational meeting on Monday, May 24, 2004 from 3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. in the Tunnell Cancer Center conference room (in Beebe Medical Center on Savannah Road). To qualify for the trial, Caucasian men must be at least 55 years of age; African American men must be 50 or older. To register for the meeting, or for additional information, please call Isabel Benson, R.N., at 645-3787.
“SELECT is focused on prostate cancer and when the study is finished, we will know for sure whether vitamin E and selenium can prevent the disease,” said Dr. Srihari Peri, Medical Director of the Tunnell Cancer Center. “We are pleased that 15 men so far have come to Beebe Medical Center to participate in this historic trial to prevent prostate cancer for future generations. So SELECT can be representative of all demographics, we hope to reach men of all racial backgrounds, especially African American men, since prostate cancer survival rates are lower in this population.”
Sites throughout the country began enrolling participants on August 22, 2001. It was expected that recruitment of all the men needed for the study would take five years.
“Reaching this huge recruitment goal so quickly is remarkable,” said Charles A. Coltman, Jr., M.D., chairman of SWOG. “This accomplishment is a tribute to the men who have volunteered to participate in SELECT and all the people involved in the study at each site.”
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. Selenium and vitamin E are naturally occurring antioxidants. They 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 cancer prevention trials. While the earlier studies indicated these antioxidants might be beneficial, it is necessary to look at them directly to get accurate data.
In a study of selenium to prevent nonmelanoma skin cancer in 1,000 men and women reported in 1996 by the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Study Group, investigators found that while the supplement did not reduce skin cancer, it did decrease the incidence of prostate cancer in men by more than 60 percent. In another trial, published in 1998, in which beta carotene and vitamin E were tested to prevent lung cancer in 29,000 Finnish men who smoked, those who took vitamin E had 32 percent less prostate cancer. Neither beta carotene nor vitamin E prevented lung cancer. For more information on these trials, please visit the National Cancer Institute (NCI) website: www.nci.nih.gov.
“SELECT is far from over,” said Dr. Leslie Ford, associate director for clinical research in NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention. “We appreciate the dedication of the men participating who will continue in the study for several more years in order for us to get the true answers about the benefits and risks of selenium and vitamin E.”
Although no more men will be recruited for SELECT after May 26, 2004, those already involved in the study will continue to visit a study center once every six months, for a total of at least seven years. Upon enrollment, each man was assigned by chance to one of four groups. One group is taking 200 micrograms of selenium daily plus an inactive capsule, or placebo, that looks like vitamin E. Another group is taking 400 milligrams of vitamin E daily along with a placebo that looks like selenium. A third group is taking both selenium and vitamin E. A final group is taking two placebos.