Broccoli compound may inhibit lung cancer in smokers according to animal study

December 05, 2008

Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C) is a compound found in broccoli that has well known ability to shield us from human papilloma viruses; the viruses involved with lung warts and cervical cancer.  I3C may help prevent lung cancer in smokers, according to results of a study with animals. Although expert advice is clearly to avoid tobacco smoke altogether, the results suggest smokers could benefit from upping their intake of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower that contain the compound I3C.

Scientists from the University of Minnesota report that mice exposed to carcinogens found in tobacco smoke and fed varying doses of I3C had significant reductions in the number of lung tumours. In fact the results were very impressive; mice fed the highest amount of I3C had 88 % fewer lung tumours than control mice, with the scientists reporting the compound appeared to act on inhibiting cell proliferation, and enhancing programmed cell death (apoptosis).“These results clearly show the efficacy of I3C in the prevention of tobacco carcinogen-induced lung tumorigenesis in mice and provide a basis for future evaluation of this compound in clinical trials as a chemopreventive agent for current and former smokers,” wrote lead author Fekadu Kassie. The study is published in the December 2008 issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research.