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M. A. Lavanya*, Sowparnika Treasa Sabu and Prof. Dr. Shaiju S. Dharan


Background: Cancer is one of the most devastating disorders of the 21st century. It is a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in the body. Selenium (Se) metal was discovered by Jons Jacob Berzelius in 1817. It was discovered as a by-product of sulphuric acid synthesis. Selenium is well documented to inhibit cancer at higher doses. Selenium is generally known as an antioxidant due to its presence in selenoproteins as selenocysteine, but it is also toxic. The toxic effects of selenium are, however, strictly depends on concentration and chemical species. In this review, relevant forms of Se species especially focus on selenium nanoparticles and overview their potential functions and applications in oncology is organized. Methods: Previously published articles regarding the therapeutic application of selenium compounds as chemotherapeutic agent for improved cancer treatment have been collected and reviewed. Observations: The number of incidences related to cancer is expected to rise due to the changes in the lifestyle. Selenium deficiency is one of the risk factor. Experimental data suggest that catalytic oxidation of cellular glutathione and reduction of molecular oxygen are part of the mechanism of the antitumor activity of selenium. This provides provocative possibilities for the inclusion of selenium into cancer therapy regimens. Most of the studies failed to examine and establish correlation with the dynamics of selenoproteins. To make better use of Se compounds in cancer prevention and therapy and to understand the underlying mechanisms of the Se compounds further studies are thus warranted.

Keywords: Selenium, Chemotherapeutics, Nanoparticle, Reactive Oxygen Species(ROS).

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