To be more exact can a naturally occurring compound found in broccoli, sulforaphane, be used to treat advanced cases of prostate cancer? Broccoli has long been considered a “super food” in helping to prevent prostate cancer. In a study led by Roderick H. Dashwood, a researcher at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology in collaboration with Oregon State University have been studying whether the compound found in the cruciferous vegetable can lead to a treatment for advanced prostate cancer. Their introduction outlines their goals for the study:
“Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States, the incidence of which is expected to increase as the population ages. Several treatment strategies have been developed for prostate cancer therapy, including surgical removal of the prostate, radiation therapy, hormone or androgen deprivation therapy and chemotherapy. A majority of cases initially respond to frontline treatments; however, despite best efforts, resistant clones arise to resume growth and seed distal sites with metastatic tumors. Once this occurs, survival rates decrease dramatically and treatment options are limited.”
Their study which was published in the journal Oncogenesis, shows how SUV39H1 (an enzyme found in prostate cancer cells) is affected when the enzyme is exposed to sulforaphane. Dashwood went on to further add that:
“There is significant evidence that cruciferous vegetables can help prevent cancer, This study, however, is one of the first to show that by altering SUV39H1 and histone methylation profiles, sulforaphane could be a new therapeutic agent for advanced prostate cancer.”
Dashwood believes that more research is required in order to accurately identify the specific subsets of advanced prostate cancers that would be susceptible to sulforaphane treatment. In addition to verifying the safety of the compound when administered at significantly higher doses. There is currently an ongoing clinical trial designed to test the effectiveness of sulforaphane-rich supplements and early results have been promising. In demonstrating the safety of the compound in their initial results they also wish to show safety of higher-dosage supplements and move towards beginning a therapeutic trial.