Background: Evidence suggests that essential trace metals and vitamins play crucial roles in slowing down the initiation and progression stages of many cancers, but the plausible role of selenium and vitamin E, especially the gamma-tocopherol (γ-tocopherol), against prostate cancer is yet to be ascertained.
Aim: To compare levels of selenium, alpha-tocopherol (α-tocopherol) and γ-tocopherol between prostate cancer (PCa) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) patients.
Methods: Twenty (20) prostate cancer (PCa) patients and 25 patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) recruited from Urology Clinic of the Department of Surgery, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan acted as case and control subjects, respectively. Informed consent was obtained from all participants. The plasma levels of selenium, α-tocopherol and γ-tocopherol were determined by Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS) and High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), respectively.
Results: γ-tocopherol levels were significantly higher in BPH patients (control) when compared with PCa patients. Selenium and α-tocopherol levels were lower in PCa patients, but not significant.
Conclusion: Plasma low level of γ-tocopherol in PCa patients was statistically significant. This may be a risk factor among adult Nigerian men for the development of prostate cancer. Increased plasma level of -tocopherol through diet or supplementation may reduce the risk and progression of prostate cancer.
Key words: Prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, γ-tocopherol, α-tocopherol, selenium, trace metals.