Broccoli Phytochemical Suppresses Breast Cancer Cell Growth
Posted Jul 08 2010 7:15am
Previous research has shown that phytochemicals in broccoli, particularly indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane, might have breast cancer fighting benefits. However, the precise way by which these phytochemicals might protect against breast cancer are unclear.
A new breast cancer research study examined the effect of the broccoli phytochemical indole-3-carbinol on a specific enzyme, called Cdc25a phosphatase , involved in cell growth. Cell culture studies showed that treatment of breast cancer cells with indole-3-carbinol resulted in the degradation of the Cdc25a phosphatase, arrest of the cell growth cycle at a specific stage of growth, and inhibition of breast cancer cell growth. These studies further demonstrated that a specific part of the Cdc25a phosphatase needed to be present for indole-3-carbinol to cause its breakdown.
According to a related press release , feeding indole-3-carbinol to mice with breast cancer resulted in about a 65% reduction in breast cancer tumor size. However, if the Cdc25a phosphatase was altered to remove its functional part, treatment with indole-3-carbinol had no effect on the breast cancer tumors.
These are interesting results that help clarify how broccoli might help fight breast cancer. Cdc25a phosphatase has been reported to be over-produced in about half of breast cancers, so while broccoli phytochemicals might have benefits for all of us, these benefits might be greatest for individuals over producing this enzyme. By screening for the over production of Cdc25a phosphatase, it might be possible in the future to more closely personalize breast cancer treatments or discover which breast cancer patients would benefit the most from the indole-3-cabinol phytochemical.