Prostate Cancer Research


Of all the animals on earth, only man and dog share the curse of spontaneous prostate cancer thus offering an ideal cancer - selenium research opportunity.





Barbara J. Andrews, Journalist, AKC Master Breeder

Dec 2011 - We reported a breakthrough connection between human and canine prostate cancer in 2008, citing efficacy of selenium.  Here’s the update…

"Efficacy studies in animal models have identified several agents with potential chemopreventive activity against prostate cancer, but few of these findings have been translated into clinical trials." #1


Dogs Aid In Cancer ResearchDog is Man’s Best Friend for many reasons, the most important of which is that they save human lives. Since the first alliance with man, dogs have evolved mankind. Today they rescue us, sometimes from ourselves. Dogs hear for the deaf, see for the blind and their extraordinary sense of smell has been proven as an early-detection cancer tool.


So should it amaze us that dogs also share a health anomaly with mankind? No. Then it should come as no surprise that, being afflicted with the same prostate cancer, the dog enabled scientists to do otherwise impossible research.


Oxford University says “Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed noncutaneous cancer in U.S. men and kills more than 40,000 men annually…” The human shares this malady only with the canine. The National Cancer Institute says “the dog is the only nonhuman species in which spontaneous prostate cancer occurs frequently.”


Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center developed animal models for the study and treatment of many cancers but was stymied on prostate cancer. “That’s because every time we put human prostate cancer cells in animals, they stop acting like they do in humans,” said one of their top veterinarian researchers.


The canine prostate gland and its various diseases are like the human prostate and produces many of the same bioactive factors believed important in metastatic disease.


With earlier detection and new treatments, cancer patients are living longer than ever, and in many advanced cases, they must deal bone cancer.  Discovery of the mechanisms of bone formation in metastasis may also lead to prevention.


Purdue Veterinary University was given a $1.5 million prostate research grant to study the effects of chemopreventive agents on cellular processes within the prostate. One part of the study involved “daily selenium supplementation for 6 months in … elderly sexually intact beagle dogs…” Purdue developed a formula which equated the elderly dogs 62-69 year old men. Results showed a significant reduction in DNA damage in the prostate and that selenium could promote cell death (apoptosis) of prostate epithelial cells. At the end of the study, the dogs were sacrificed and their prostate glands examined. 79% of the prostate cells from untreated dogs had "extensive DNA damage" compared with only 57% from dogs that had been given supplemental selenium.


The amount of selenium needed to confer protection was not that much. Half the dogs got a low dose which was only 50% more than typically occurs in a dog-chow diet. The other half got double the normal dietary selenium supply. The dosage was non-toxic; the smaller dose equating to 200 micrograms per day in men. That's the same amount administered to people in a massive 12-year long National Cancer Institute nutrition trial. Then, in 2003, the International Journal of Cancer reported on a study of 445 U.S. men involving higher concentrations of selenium. Results indicated a 30% reduction in risk for prostate cancer.


What is selenium and where do you get it and is it safe for you or your dog? Selenium is an essential trace element, found organically in grains, fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and diary products. Entering the food chain primarily through plant-consuming animals, concentrations vary geographically according to soil content. Selenium is available in over-the-counter supplements and multivitamins. Widely distributed in body tissues, it’s a powerful antioxidant but more is not better. There’s a reason it is called a “trace” element.

So before you guys start gulping selenium, check with your doctor. And before you add the trace mineral selenium to your old dog’s food, here it comes…
check with your veterinarian.Meet the Editor and Author Barbara J. "BJ" Andrews


In 2005 the world expected a giant leap forward in Dr. Waters research and three years later, we were still encouraged.  We debated whether to bring you this update for we do not want to diminish the value of phytonutrients in cancer research and most of all, the value of the dog as a perfect test model.  I have decided to share the lack of progress (see #1) and indeed, the possible suppression of funding for desperately needed clinical trials.  Cancer treatment is big business.  Prevention of cancer is not.  And therein lies the truth of all cancer research.  Selenium and the science of phytonutrients is out there.  


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#1 Özten-Kandas N, Bosland MC. Chemoprevention of prostate cancer: Natural compounds, antiandrogens, and antioxidants - In vivo evidence. J Carcinog [serial online] 2011 [cited 2011 Dec 28];10:27. Available from:

Clark L. et al. Effects of selenium supplementation for cancer prevention in patients with carcinoma of the skin. Journal of the American Medical Association 1996;276:1957-1963

Clark L.C. et al. Decreased incidence of prostate cancer with selenium supplementation: results of a double-blind cancer prevention trial. British Journal of Urology 1998;81:730-734

Giovannucci E. Selenium and risk of prostate cancer. (Editorial) Lancet 1998;352:755-756

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