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LONDON, Jun 16, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The mineral selenium, found in Brazil nuts, liver and kidneys, might help protect some women from developing breast cancer.
The BBC reported Monday University of Illinois researchers may have discovered how selenium interacts with a natural body chemical to offer protection.
Previous studies have indicated selenium can reduce the likelihood of other types of cancer, as well as to a lowered chance of heart disease.
The latest study involved taking tissue samples from more than 500 women who did not have breast cancer, comparing those women's genetic makeup with 79 breast cancer tissue samples.
The American scientists found certain genes responsible for producing an enzyme believed to have cancer-fighting properties were more common in the breast cancer tissue samples.
Their conclusion was that women with certain genetic makeups might benefit from extra selenium.
The research appears in the journal Cancer Researchers. However, the researchers warned more study is needed before any recommendations on selenium supplements can be made.
Copyright 2003 by United Press International.