The researchers found that women, moderate smokers and those with p53 positive cancer showed significant reductions in bladder cancer with higher rates of selenium.
The research involved 767 individuals with newly diagnosed bladder.
"There are different pathways by which bladder cancer evolves and it is thought that one of the major pathways involves alterations in the p53 gene," said corresponding author Margaret Karagas, Ph.D., professor of community and family medicine of the Norris Cotton Cancer Centre at Dartmouth.
"Bladder cancers stemming from these alternations are associated with more advanced disease.
"Ultimately, if it is true that selenium can prevent a certain subset of individuals, like women, from developing bladder cancer, or prevent certain types of tumours, such as those evolving through the p53 pathway, from developing, it gives us clues about how the tumours could be prevented in the future and potentially lead to chemopreventive efforts," said Karagas.
The study is published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.