Past research and conventional wisdom dictate that cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are part of a nutritious diet because they contain an abundance of healthful properties — from antioxidants to fiber.
Researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University are now reporting that a compound called sulforaphane found in broccoli and its brethren may also be effective at killing cancer cells.
“It is well-documented that sulforaphane can target cancer cells through multiple chemopreventive mechanisms,” said study authors. “Here, we show for the first time that sulforaphane selectively targets benign hyperplasia cells and cancerous prostate cells while leaving the normal prostate cells unaffected.”
Sulforaphane works by inhibiting the histone deacetylase enzymes, an approach that has been gaining popularity in cancer treatment, both from a pharmaceutical and dietary standpoint.
However, authors noted that just because a compound is found in food does not automatically make it safe to use as a treatment. As a result, further research is needed to test the safety of sulforaphane therapy.
Results of this study were published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.