Background: Selenium has been shown to protect against liver necrosis. Selenium deficiency has been involved in the pathogenesis of chronic hepatitis B and C related hepatocellular damage. Serum selenium concentration in cirrhotics was found to be low, supportive selenium administration may be beneficial for them. Reduced selenium levels result in accumulation of lipid peroxides which accelerate the growth of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Aim: To study serum selenium level in patients with chronic liver diseases and its relation with severity of the liver diseases.

Patients and Methods: This case–control study was conducted on 100 subjects. The cases were 80 adult patients including chronic hepatitis C and B, liver cirrhosis and HCC. The study also included 20 healthy age and sex-matched subjects served as a control group.  Clinical, laboratory and radiological data and blood samples were collected from all participants. Serum selenium concentration was measured and statistical analysis was done.

Results: Selenium concentration was significantly lower in patients compared to healthy controls. Selenium level was found low in Chronic HBV, chronic HCV patients and lower in cirrhotic group and the lowest in HCC group. Patients with advanced liver cirrhosis (Child B, C) had significantly lower selenium level compared to those with Child A.

Conclusion: Selenium was lower in patients with chronic liver disease and its level decreases with the progression of liver disease. Patients with HCC had the lowest Selenium concentration that might correlate with the pathophysiology of HCC. Chronic hepatitis C and B, liver cirrhosis and HCC were independent predictors for Selenium deficiency.