We used acute selenium (Se) treatments (i.e., daily single oral gavage of 2 mg Se per kilogram of body weight for 3 days) of female Sprague-Dawley rats bearing 1-methyl-1-nitrosourea-induced mammary carcinomas to increase the probability of detecting in vivo apoptosis and the associated gene/protein changes in the cancerous epithelial cells. The results show that whereas control carcinomas doubled in volume in 3 days, Se-methylselenocysteine and selenite treatments regressed approximately half of the carcinomas, accompanied by a 3- to 4-fold increase of morphologically observable apoptosis and ∼40% inhibition of 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine index of the cancerous epithelial cells. The mRNA levels of growth arrest-DNA damage inducible 34 (gadd34), gadd45, and gadd153 genes were, contrary to expectation, not higher in the Se-treated carcinomas than in the gavage or diet restriction control groups. The gadd34 and gadd153 proteins were localized in the nonepithelial cells and not induced in the cancer epithelial cells of the Se-treated carcinomas. On the other hand, both Se forms decreased the expression of cyclin D1 and increased levels of P27Kip1 and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase activation in a majority of the mammary carcinomas. Furthermore, the lack of induction of gadd genes in vivo by methylseleninic acid was confirmed in a human prostate xenograft model in athymic nude mice. In summary, these experiments showed the induction of cancer epithelial cell apoptosis and inhibition of cell proliferation by Se in vivo through the potential involvement of cyclin D1, P27Kip1, and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase pathways. They cast doubt on the three gadd genes as mediators of Se action in vivo.