JUN 28, 2016 11:44 AM PDT

Antioxidants in Broccoli May Prevent Mouth Cancer

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
If you don’t love and eat broccoli already, you might want to seriously reconsider! This is the sentiment of a new study that found extracts from cruciferous vegetables – like broccoli, cabbage, and garden cress – may protect against oral cancer.

The idea that broccoli may hold anticancer benefits is not a new one. Scientists have long known that vegetables like broccoli are high in an antioxidant compound known as sulforaphane. As an antioxidant, sulforaphane inhibits the oxidation of molecules, thereby buffering cells against damages brought on by carcinogens.

And mouths are one of the most vulnerable spots for carcinogen exposure – just imagine all the foods and liquids we consume every day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 30,000 new cases of oral cancer every year. Of these, over 26 percent will lead to death. "With head and neck cancer, we often clear patients of cancer only to see it come back with deadly consequences a few years later," said Julie Bauman, first author of the study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.


Bauman and her team decided to test whether sulforaphane-rich extracts from broccoli sprouts would indeed boost cells’ health. They first tested this idea on human head and neck cancer cells. Treatment with sulforaphane seemed to increase a protein that detoxifies carcinogens, thereby providing the cells protection from cancer.
 

Then, they tested their idea in 10 healthy volunteers who were asked to drink a concoction spiked with broccoli sprout extract. Though it may sound like an unpleasant drink, the volunteers didn’t complain. What’s more, the team found that the cells lining the mouths of the volunteers showed the same increase in the protective protein.
 
This effect was replicated in an animal experiment, whereby mice given the sulforaphane extract developed fewer tumors than the non-treated control mice.

As far as head and neck cancer, the present results are encouraging, but of course, more research has to be conducted for a definitive answer. The team has already initiated a larger clinical trial to test the effects of broccoli seed powder in survivors of head and neck cancer.

So, should we be chomping down on more broccoli? It wouldn’t hurt. Broccoli has one of the best nutritional profiles among vegetables. It boasts high fiber content, along with abundant vitamins and potassium. And in addition to anticancer benefits, a study found that sulforaphane and other antioxidants could be potential treatments for patients with progeria, a condition marked by abnormal accelerated cellular aging. If nothing else, this vegetable is quite delicious with garlic and melted cheese!

Additional source: MNT
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
JUN 25, 2018
Cancer
JUN 25, 2018
B-cell Lymphoma Develops After MPN JAK1/2 Therapy
Patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms treated with JAK1/2 inhibitor therapy are at increased risk of developing aggressive B-cell lymphoma due to pre-existing B-cell clone specifically a...
JUL 10, 2018
Cancer
JUL 10, 2018
The ALFRED Analysis for Cancer Predisposition Genes
New proposed statistical method called ALFRED used to identify cancer predisposition genes....
JUL 13, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
JUL 13, 2018
Detecting Leukemia Before it Starts Growing
Researchers have found ways to identify people who may develop an aggressive type of blood cancer while they are still healthy....
AUG 21, 2018
Health & Medicine
AUG 21, 2018
First, They Came for the Straws...Now the Soda?
Bans on plastic straws and utensils are all over the news recently. While taking care of the planet is crucial, some critics say that banning plastic straw...
OCT 08, 2018
Immunology
OCT 08, 2018
Natural Killer Cells to Aid in Cancer Therapy
Researchers utilize nanoparticles to stimulate NK cells that induce tumor cells to express PDL1, a protein involved in immune response messaging...
OCT 17, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
OCT 17, 2018
Saving Patients From Unnecessary Chemotherapy with a Blood Test
Often, cancer patients get chemotherapy after surgery to ensure that their cancer will not come back; for many it's not needed....
Loading Comments...