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Nutrients 2015, 7(6), 4978-4994; doi:10.3390/nu7064978

Pharmacokinetics and Toxicity of Sodium Selenite in the Treatment of Patients with Carcinoma in a Phase I Clinical Trial: The SECAR Study

Department of Oncology, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital Södersjukhuset, SE-118 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital Solna, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Pathology F46, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, SE-141 86 Stockholm, Sweden
Medical Products Agency, P.O. Box 26, SE-751 03 Uppsala, Sweden
Clinical Pharmacology Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Solna, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden
National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2860 Søborg, Denmark
Department of Radiology, Karolinska University Hospital Södersjukhuset, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden
Department of Radiology, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden
Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm SE-171 76, Sweden
Department of Medicine and Health, Linköping University, Linköping SE-581 83, Linköping, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 March 2015 / Revised: 11 June 2015 / Accepted: 15 June 2015 / Published: 19 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Selenium and Human Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1245 KB, uploaded 19 June 2015]   |  


Background: Sodium selenite at high dose exerts antitumor effects and increases efficacy of cytostatic drugs in multiple preclinical malignancy models. We assessed the safety and efficacy of intravenous administered sodium selenite in cancer patients’ refractory to cytostatic drugs in a phase I trial. Patients received first line of chemotherapy following selenite treatment to investigate altered sensitivity to these drugs and preliminary assessment of any clinical benefits. Materials and Methods: Thirty-four patients with different therapy resistant tumors received iv sodium selenite daily for consecutive five days either for two weeks or four weeks. Each cohort consisted of at least three patients who received the same daily dose of selenite throughout the whole treatment. If 0/3 patients had dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), the study proceeded to the next dose-level. If 2/3 had DLT, the dose was considered too high and if 1/3 had DLT, three more patients were included. Dose-escalation continued until the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) was reached. MTD was defined as the highest dose-level on which 0/3 or 1/6 patients experienced DLT. The primary endpoint was safety, dose-limiting toxic effects and the MTD of sodium selenite. The secondary endpoint was primary response evaluation. Results and Conclusion: MTD was defined as 10.2 mg/m2, with a calculated median plasma half-life of 18.25 h. The maximum plasma concentration of selenium from a single dose of selenite increased in a nonlinear pattern. The most common adverse events were fatigue, nausea, and cramps in fingers and legs. DLTs were acute, of short duration and reversible. Biomarkers for organ functions indicated no major systemic toxicity. In conclusion, sodium selenite is safe and tolerable when administered up to 10.2 mg/m2 under current protocol. Further development of the study is underway to determine if prolonged infusions might be a more effective treatment strategy. View Full-Text
Keywords: sodium selenite; carcinoma; pharmacokinetics; maximum tolerated dose sodium selenite; carcinoma; pharmacokinetics; maximum tolerated dose

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Brodin, O.; Eksborg, S.; Wallenberg, M.; Asker-Hagelberg, C.; Larsen, E.H.; Mohlkert, D.; Lenneby-Helleday, C.; Jacobsson, H.; Linder, S.; Misra, S.; Björnstedt, M. Pharmacokinetics and Toxicity of Sodium Selenite in the Treatment of Patients with Carcinoma in a Phase I Clinical Trial: The SECAR Study. Nutrients 2015, 7, 4978-4994.

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