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Broccoli, Cabbage, Soy Found to Cut Cancer Risk

Broccoli, Cabbage, Soy Found to Cut Cancer Risk
Environment News Service, February 10, 2005
http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/feb2006/2006-02-10-09.asp#anchor7


WASHINGTON, DC, February 10, 2006 (ENS) - Some vegetables contain chemicals that appear to enhance DNA repair in cells, which could lead to protection against cancer development, say Georgetown University Medical Center researchers.

In a new study published in the "British Journal of Cancer" and by the journal "Nature" the researchers show that in laboratory tests, a compound called indole-3-carinol (I3C), found in broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, and a chemical called genistein, found in soy beans, can increase the levels of two specific proteins that repair damaged DNA.

This study is one of the first to provide a molecular explanation as to how eating vegetables could cut the risk of developing cancer, an association that some population studies have found, says the study's senior author, Eliot M. Rosen, MD, PhD, professor of oncology, cell biology, and radiation medicine at Georgetown's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. "It is now clear that the function of crucial cancer genes can be influenced by compounds in the things we eat," Rosen says.

"Our findings suggest a clear molecular process that would explain the connection between diet and cancer prevention." In this study, Rosen exposed breast and prostate cancer cells to increasing doses of I3C and genistein, and found that these chemicals boosted production of the repair proteins BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Since decreased amounts of the BRCA proteins are seen in cancer cells, higher levels might prevent cancer from developing, Rosen speculates, adding that the ability of I3C and genistein to increase production of BRCA proteins could explain their protective effects.

The study was funded by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Cancer Institute and co-authors include Drs. Saijun Fan, MD, PhD, Qinghui Meng, MS, Karen Auborn, PhD, and Timothy Carter, PhD.

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