Phytonutrients in broccoli and soy found to prevent spread of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer and even melanoma
Naturally occurring chemicals found in broccoli and soy may prevent the spread
of breast cancer, according to a study conducted by researchers at UCLA and
presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.
"We think these compounds might slow or prevent the metastasis of breast
and ovarian cancer, which would greatly increase the effectiveness of current
treatments," said Erin Hsu, a graduate student in molecular toxicology
Researchers applied DIM from broccoli, and Genistein, found in soy, to motile
cancer cells and observed their effects. They found that the spread of cancer
and the invasion of healthy cells were significantly reduced by the compounds.
This effect occurred because of DIM and Genistein’s effect on a compound
produced by healthy cells that cancer cells are attracted to, thereby attracting
the malignant cells to healthy organs. DIM and Genistein were found to reduce
the production of this compound (CXCR4) in a manner directly proportional to
As a result, the movement toward the attractant in healthy cells was reduced
by 80 percent in cancer cells treated with either of the plant compounds, compared
with untreated cells. The researchers found the same effect when DIM or Genistein
were applied to prostate cancer or melanoma cells.
Previous studies have indicated the cancer-preventive benefits of broccoli and
soy, but this is one of the first to uncover part of the mechanism of that protection.
The DIM and Genistein doses used in the UCLA study were probably higher than
could be achieved through diet alone, the researchers said, meaning that nutritional
supplementation would be required to achieve these medicinal effects.
Spirulina helps prevent oral cancer
Spirulina is a blue - green algae that supplies protein, carotenoids, and other
micronutrients. In animal studies Spirulina inhibits oral cancer. In this study
87 chronic tobacco chewers with leukoplakia were given a gram a day of Spirulina
or inactive placebo each day for one-year. Regression of precancerous lesions
was observed in 45% (20 out of 44 subjects) of the Spirulina supplemented patients
and in only 7% (or 3 out of 43 subjects) of the non-supplemented patients. One
year after discontinuing Spirulina, 9 of the 20 patients (or 45% of the complete
responders) who completely healed with Spirulina had a return of their lesions.
The study was published in Nutrition and Cancer, 1995;24(2).