A short-term intervention with selenium affects expression of genes implicated in the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in the prostate

  • Dieuwertje Kok (Creator)
  • Lambertus A.L.M. Kiemeney (Creator)
  • Gerald W. Verhaegh (Creator)
  • Jack A. Schalken (Creator)
  • Emile N.J.T. van Lin (Creator)
  • J.P. Michiel Sedelaar (Creator)
  • J.A. Witjes (Creator)
  • Christina A. Hulsbergen-van de Kaa (Creator)
  • Pieter van 't Veer (Creator)
  • Ellen Kampman (Creator)
  • Lydia Afman (Creator)



In parallel with the inconsistency in observational studies and chemoprevention trials, the molecular mechanisms by which selenium may affect prostate cancer risk have not been elucidated. We conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled intervention trial to examine the effects of a short-term intervention with selenized yeast on whole-genome expression profiles in non-malignant prostate tissue. Twenty-three men receiving prostate biopsies were randomly assigned to take 300 µg selenized yeast per day (n=12) or placebo (non-selenized yeast, n=11) during a median intervention period of 35 (interquartile range: 31-35) days. Prostate specimens, collected from the transition zone before and after intervention, of 15 participants (n=8 selenium, n=7 placebo) were available for analysis using Affymetrix GeneChip Human 1.0 ST Arrays. Pathway and gene set enrichment analyses revealed that the intervention with selenium resulted in a down-regulated expression of genes involved in signaling pathways related to cellular adhesion, migration, invasion, remodeling and immune responses. Specifically, expression of the well-established epithelial marker E-cadherin was up-regulated, while mesenchymal markers, such as vimentin and fibronectin, were down-regulated after the intervention with selenium. This implies an effect of selenium on the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Moreover, selenium affected expression of genes involved in wound healing and inflammation, processes which are both related to EMT. In conclusion, our data showed that selenium affected expression of genes implicated in EMT, mainly represented by a change in the direction of the epithelial rather than the mesenchymal phenotype.
Date made available19 Jan 2017
PublisherWageningen University


  • Homo sapiens

Accession numbers

  • GSE77959
  • PRJNA312203

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