New research has identified one of the key cancer-fighting mechanisms for sulforaphane. The study suggests that this phytochemical may be able to move beyond cancer prevention and toward therapeutic use for advanced prostate cancer.
The new findings were recently published in the journal Oncogenesis, by researchers from Oregon State University and the Texas A&M Health Science Center. The study was also supported by the National Institutes of Health.
According to scientists, pharmacologic doses in the form of supplements would be needed for actual therapies, beyond the amount of sulforaphane that would ordinarily be obtained from broccoli or other dietary sources.
However, research needs to be done in order to prove the safety of this compound when used in such high levels.
A growing comprehension of how sulforaphane works and is able to selectively kill cancer cells indicates it may have value in treating metastasized cancer and could work alongside existing approaches.
According to researchers, there is significant evidence of the value of cruciferous vegetables in cancer prevention.
Dozens of studies have examined the health value of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages and many of them ultimately focused on the role of sulforaphane. Broccoli sprouts contain the highest dietary levels of the sulfurophane precursor.
This study is one of the first that has demonstrated how sulforaphane can affect a histone methylation and alter gene expression in metastasized prostate cancer cells. This may begin a process that can help to re-express tumor suppressors, leading to the selective death of cancer cells and slowing disease progression.
As of now there have not been any clinical trials to test the value of sulforaphane in cancer therapy, although a trial is under way using sulforaphane in cancer therapy. However, currently there is a trial is underway using sulforaphane supplements in men with high risk for prostate cancer. Results from that may help demonstrate the safety of higher-dosage supplements and set the stage for the therapeutic trials.