Selenomethionine and methioninase: Selenium free radical anticancer activity

Julian E. Spallholz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Colloidal selenium, was first used to treat cancer as early as 1911 in both humans and mice. Selenium was identified as the toxic component in forage plants of sheep, cattle, and horses in the 1930s. The animal toxicity of selenium compounds was determined to be from the metabolism by animals of the elevated concentrations of Se-methylselenocysteine and selenomethionine in plants. The metabolism of both Se-methylselenocysteine and selenomethionine by animals gives rise to the metabolite, methylselenide (CH3Se-), which if in sufficient concentration oxidizes thiols and generates superoxide and other reactive oxygen species. Cancer cells that may overly express methionine gamma-lyase, or beta-lyase (methioninase), by induced viral genomic expression, are susceptible to free radical-induced apoptosis from selenomethionine or Se-methylselenocysteine supplementation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


  • Cancer
  • Prevention
  • Selenide
  • Selenium
  • Selenomethionnie
  • Therapy


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