A broccoli compound may help prevent or treat breast cancer by targeting cancer stem cells, according to a new study.
Stem cells are the small number of cells that fuel a tumour's growth. The study from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center tested sulforaphane, a component of broccoli and broccoli sprouts, in both mice and cell cultures.
Researchers found sulforaphane targeted and killed the cancer stem cells and prevented new tumours from growing.
"Sulforaphane has been studied previously for its effects on cancer, but this study shows that its benefit is in inhibiting the breast cancer stem cells. This new insight suggests the potential of sulforaphane or broccoli extract to prevent or treat cancer by targeting the critical cancer stem cells," says study author Duxin Sun, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the U-M College of Pharmacy and a researcher with the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Results of the study appear in the May 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.