Selenoproteins of the Human Prostate: Unusual Properties and Role in Cancer Etiology

  • Alan M. DiamondEmail author


The prostate is an important organ for the maintenance of sperm health with prostate cancer being a common disease for which there is a critical need to distinguish indolent from aggressive disease. Several selenium-containing proteins have been implicated in prostate cancer risk or outcome due to either enzyme function, the reduced levels of these proteins being associated with cancer recurrence after prostatectomy or their corresponding genes containing single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with increased risk. Moreover, experimental data obtained from the manipulation of either cultured cells or animal models have indicated that some of these proteins are contributing mechanistically to prostate cancer incidence or progression. Among these are selenocysteine-containing proteins selenoprotein P (SELENOP), glutathione peroxidase (GPX1), and selenoprotein 15 (SELENOF); and the selenium-associated protein selenium-binding protein 1 (SBP1). Genotyping of some of the genes for these proteins has identified functional single-nucleotide polymorphisms that are associated with prostate cancer risk and the direct quantification of these proteins in human prostate tissues has not only revealed associations to clinical outcomes but have also identified unique properties that are different from what is observed in other tissue types. The location of GPX1 in the nucleus and SELENOF in the plasma membrane of prostate epithelial cells indicates that these proteins may have functions in normal prostate tissue that are distinct from that of the other tissue types.


Selenium Selenoproteins Glutathione peroxidase Selenium-binding protein 1 Selenoprotein F 



The author would like to acknowledge Lenny Hong for the critical reading of the manuscript and preparation of the figure.

Funding Information

This work was financially supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (Grant Nos. R21CA182103, R01CA193497) and a Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program Health Disparity Research Award (PC170236) to AMD.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Illinois Cancer CenterUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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