Broccoli-Derived Compound Might Fight Breast Cancer
Posted Jun 08 2010 7:22am
As I indicated in a previous blog post broccoli is rich in a number of phytochemicals that appear to have important cancer fighting properties. The potential benefits of broccoli and the phytochemicals found in broccoli have been studied in a number of cancers, including breast cancer. Of these phytochemicals, one of the best studied is indole-3-carbinol . Though the studies to date have been somewhat inconsistent and mostly conducted in pre-clinical settings, the early evidence suggests a possible cancer fighting benefit of broccoli and indole-3-carbinol.
New breast cancer research suggests that a unique synthetically-derived analogue of indole-3-cabinol, called 1-benzyl-I3C, has substantially greater cancer fighting properties. For this new breast cancer study, investigators synthesized this new analogue and compared its effectiveness against the native broccoli phytochemcial, indole-3-cabinol, in a number of tests. The investigators reported that
The synthetic derivative, 1-benzyl-I3C, was 1,000 times more effective at suppressing growth of estrogen-dependent and estrogen-independent breast cancer cells.
Cell cycle blockage and effects on certain genes involved in the cell growth cycle were seen with substantially lower levels of the new synthetic derivative compared to the native broccoli compound.
1-benzyl-I3C reduced that production of estrogen receptor alpha in estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells.
Treating estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells with both the synthetic derivative plus tamoxifen suppressed breast cancer cell growth more effectively than either treatment alone.
1-benzyl-I3C inhibited the growth of breast cancer cell tumors implanted into mice.
These are fascinating and potentially important results. Proper nutrition is a vitally important part of the fight against breast cancer. Choosing foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, rich in nutrients with cancer fighting properties is an important part of developing a healthy, cancer fighting diet. By making these choices we can all reduce our risk of getting breast cancer. However, reducing the risk of developing breast cancer does not guarantee that cancer won't show up anyway for some of us. This is where effective, personalized breast cancer treatments are critical. In addition to standard breast cancer therapies currently in use, the development of novel treatments from foods reported to have cancer fighting benefits is becoming a more active area of investigation. From a treatment perspective, increasing the potency and effectiveness of dietary phytochemicals might be a promising therapeutic approach.
Because of the presence of indole-3-carbinol and sulforphane and the early positive research on its cancer fighting benefits, broccoli is one of my favorite foods to fight breast cancer. Read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer to learn about my other favorite cancer fighting foods.