Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element involved in different physiological functions of the human body and plays a role in cancer prevention and treatment. Induction of apoptosis is considered an important cellular event that can account for the cancer preventive effects of Se. The mechanisms of Se-induced apoptosis are associated with the chemical forms of Se and their metabolism as well as the type of cancer studied. So, some selenocompounds, such as SeO2 involve the activation of caspase-3 while sodium selenite induces apoptosis in the absence of the activation of caspases. Modulation of mitochondrial functions has been reported to play a key role in the regulation of apoptosis and also to be one of the targets of Se compounds. Other mechanisms for apoptosis induction are the modulation of glutathione and reactive oxygen species levels, which may function as intracellular messengers to regulate signaling pathways, or the regulation of kinase, among others. Emerging evidence indicates the overlaps between the apoptosis and other types of cell death such as autophagy. In this review we report different processes of cell death induced by Se compounds in cancer treatment and prevention.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry