Posted on May 12, 2010, 7 a.m.
A compound derived from broccoli has been found to kill breast cancer stem cells, thus suggesting that it may prove useful in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.
Research has revealed that sulforaphane, a compound derived from broccoli and broccoli sprouts, targets and kills breast cancer stem cells, the cells that promote tumor growth. Duxin Sun Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy and a researcher with the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, and colleagues tested the compound in mice with breast cancer and on cultured human breast cancer cells. Results showed that treatment with sulforaphane led to a significant drop in the cancer stem cell population and prevented the development of new tumors. Furthermore, the compound had little effect on normal cells. The authors concluded: "These findings support the use of sulforaphane for the chemoprevention of breast cancer stem cells and warrant further clinical evaluation."
Yanyan Li, Tao Zhang, Hasan Korkaya, Suling Liu, Hsiu-Fang Lee, Bryan Newman, Yanke Yu, Shawn G. Clouthier, Steven J. Schwartz, Max S. Wicha, Duxin Sun. Sulforaphane, a Dietary Component of Broccoli/Broccoli Sprouts, Inhibits Breast Cancer Stem Cells. Clin Cancer Res. 2010 May 1;16:2580-2590. Epub 2010 Apr 13.