Broccoli molecule could curb breast cancer says study

In collaboration with the Press Association

Scientists have found that a molecule in vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells and could be used alongside drugs to help fight the cancer.

Scientists funded by the Medical Research Council at the University of Leicester looked at the impact of the molecule, known as I3C, on four different laboratory-grown breast cancer cell lines.

It has been known for some time that eating a balanced diet, including fresh fruit and vegetables, leads to a number of health benefits and can help prevent some cancers, but more precise evidence is now emerging as to the benefits of specific substances present in our food.

The researchers found that the I3C molecule altered the chemical signalling inside cells from three of the cell lines. This change could make the cancer cells more vulnerable to anticancer drugs which also target these receptors, making the drugs more effective.

"This study adds to the evidence that I3C ? found in broccoli, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables ? can help block the growth of breast cancer cells.? said Josephine Querido of Cancer Research UK.

"The work was carried out on cells grown in the laboratory and it is not yet clear if I3C will have a role in breast cancer treatment.

"After stopping smoking, a healthy balanced diet including plenty of fruit and vegetables is the best way to reduce your risk of developing certain cancers."

The study was presented at the National Cancer Research Institute Conference and is published in the journal Carciogenesis.

Find out more about the role of diet in cancer risk