Nutrients found in broccoli may protect against the development of breast cancer cells, according to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research.
In order to determine if sulforaphane, the compound found in broccoli, can kill off cancerous cells, researchers from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center fed broccoli sprouts and stems to mice with breast cancer. The team then conducted a series of tests to measure the number of cells that were still in the animals tumors.
The results of the study showed that exposure to sulforaphane decreased the number of breast cancer cells without damaging healthy cells. Also, the investigators discovered that after consuming the vegetable, the cancerous cells were unable to grow new tumors.
The team performed the same tests on human breast cancer cells, and found similar results as the ones recorded during the animal trials.
These findings “[suggest] a potential new treatment that could be combined with other compounds to target breast cancer stem cells,” said Max S. Wicha, professor of oncology and director of the center. He added that “developing treatments that effectively target the cancer stem cell population is essential for improving outcomes.”
For women who are interested in adding other natural alternatives to their diets in order to prevent breast cancer, recent research conducted at Creighton University showed that foods enriched with vitamin D, such as mushrooms, fish oil and dairy products, can protect against the disease.