Research News

Add this natural, cancer-fighting compound to your patients’ diet plan

March, 2017    |

Researchers out of Oregon State University have found that broccoli may be better for you thank you might think. During a recent study, they found that sulforaphane, a dietary compound in the vegetable, may help to prevent prostate cancer through its influence on long, non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs).

The team notes that this evidence is another step forward in new research on the underlying genetics of cancer development. The research provides more evidence for how lncRNAs, which were once thought to have no particular value or function, may play a critical role in triggering cell malignancy. In fact, lncRNAs often control which genes are expressed: scientists now believe that when lncRNAs are dysregulated, they can contribute to multiple disease processes, including cancer. If scientists can control these genes, they may be able to slow the growth of malignant cells.

Specifically, the study showed that one such gene, known as LINC01116, is upregulated in a human cell line of prostate cancer. However, it can be decreased by treatment with sulforaphane.

“This could be a turning point in our understanding of how cancer may be triggered and spreads,” says Emily Ho, the endowed director of the Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health at OSU, a professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences and principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute. “It’s obviously of interest that this dietary compound, found at some of its highest levels in broccoli, can affect lncRNAs. This could open the door to a whole range of new dietary strategies, foods or drugs that might play a role in cancer suppression or therapeutic control.”

“We showed that treatment with sulforaphane could normalize the levels of this lncRNA,” says Laura Beaver, a research associate in the Linus Pauling Institute and College of Public Health and Human Sciences, and lead author on the study. “This may relate to more than just cancer prevention. It would be of significant value if we could develop methods to greatly slow the progress of cancer, help keep it from becoming invasive.”

To help boost their chances of fighting off cancer, encourage your patients to add more broccoli into their diet. Additionally, sulforaphane supplements are available on the market. Adding these to your storefront or your patients’ supplementary regimens could boost your sales—and their health.