Anti-cancer effects of broccoli ingredient explained

July 12, 2010

Light has been cast on the interaction between broccoli consumption and reduced prostate cancer risk. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Molecular Cancer have found that sulforaphane, a chemical found in broccoli, interacts with cells lacking a gene called PTEN to reduce the chances of prostate cancer developing.

Richard Mithen, from the Institute of Food Research, an institute of BBSRC, worked with a team of researchers on Norwich Research Park, UK, to carry out a series of experiments in human prostate tissue and mouse models of prostate cancer to investigate the interactions between expression of the PTEN gene and the anti-cancer activity of sulforaphane. He said, "PTEN is a tumour suppressor gene, the deletion or inactivation of which can initiate prostate carcinogenesis, and enhance the probability of cancer progression. We've shown here that sulforaphane has different effects depending on whether the PTEN gene is present".

The research team found that in cells which express PTEN, dietary intervention with SF has no effect on the development of cancer. In cells that don't express the gene, however, sulforaphane causes them to become less competitive, providing an explanation of how consuming broccoli can reduce the risk of prostate cancer incidence and progression. According to Mithen, "This also suggests potential therapeutic applications of sulforaphane and related compounds".
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Notes to Editors

1. The dietary isothiocyanate sulforaphane modulates gene expression and alternative gene splicing in a PTEN null preclinical murine model of prostate cancer
Maria H. Traka, Caroline A. Spinks, Joanne F. Doleman, Antonietta Melchini, Richard Y. Ball, Robert D. Mills and Richard F. Mithen
Molecular Cancer (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://www.molecular-cancer.com/imedia/4386142083690106_article.pdf?random=279720

After the embargo, article available at the journal website: http://www.molecular-cancer.com/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication.

2. This study was funded by a grant from the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council - BB/C59066/1 - (together with BBSRC Institute Strategic Grant funding to IFR).

3. Molecular Cancer publishes high-quality original research and reviews that present or highlight significant advances in all areas of cancer-related biomedical science.

4. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.

BioMed Central

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