Compound found in broccoli may successfully treat prostate cancer

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Broccoli is frequently touted as a food that can help prevent cancer, but could it also be used to treat it?

According to research conducted by a faculty member at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT) in Houston, the answer is yes.

IBT faculty member Roderick H. Dashwood has been studying whether a compound known as sulforaphane, which occurs naturally in broccoli, could be used to treat advanced prostate cancer. In a paper that was recently published in the journal Oncogenesis, Dashwood and collaborators from Oregon State University detailed how a particular enzyme in prostate cancer cells known as SUV39H1 is affected by exposure to sulforaphane.

“There is significant evidence that cruciferous vegetables can help prevent cancer,” Dashwood said. “This study, however, is one of the first to show that by altering SUV39H1 and histone methylation profiles, sulforaphane could be a new therapeutic agent for advanced prostate cancer.” Histone methylation involves small chemical modifications to the proteins that interact with DNA, and influences how genes are expressed.

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