|Life Extension Update Exclusive |
Cruciferous vegetable compounds halt experimental lung cancer progression
Two reports published in the September 15 2005 issue of the journal Cancer Research (http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/) revealed how isothiocyanate compounds that occur in the cruciferous family of vegetables (which include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts) blocked lung tumors’ progression to cancer.
Professor of Oncology at the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center Fung-Lung Chung, PhD, and colleagues tested the compounds on mice and on human cells. In one experiment, the researchers gave mice a chemical combination that induces potentially cancerous lung tumors, and counted the number of adenomas (benign tumors) that formed in a sampling of animals after twenty weeks. The remainder of the animals were given high or low doses of one of four isothiocyanate derived compounds: phenethyl isothiocyanates, sulforaphane, phenethyl isothiocyanate-N-acetylcysteine, or sulforaphane-N-acetylcysteine for 22 additional weeks.
The researchers found that mice who received the compounds experienced reduced progression from adenoma to adenocarcinoma (malignant tumors). Nineteen percent of the tumors in mice who received the higher dose of phenethyl isothiocyanate and 13 percent of those in the higher dose phenethyl isothiocyanate-N-acetylcysteine group developed into malignancies, while 42 percent in the group that received no isothiocyanate compounds were malignant. In the group that received sulforaphane-N-acetylcysteine, 11 percent of the tumors in the low dose group and 16 percent in the high dose group had developed into adenocarcinoma.
In the study involving human cell cultures that were genetically modified to emulate cancer by growing quickly, administration of phenethyl isothiocyanate-N-acetylcysteine induced increased programmed cell death, suggesting that its use may arrest rapidly growing lung cancers.
Dr Chung commented, "These studies provide significant insight into the mechanisms of lung cancer prevention and suggests ways the process can be slowed down after exposure has already occurred. We still need to do more research, but it may be that an agent containing these ingredients could, to some degree, help protect people who have developed early lung lesions due to smoking. In any case, we know that eating vegetables is generally good for us, and that some studies have shown they help lower a person's risk of developing cancer."