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Broccoli, cauliflower and genetic cancer

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. Need another reason to eat vegetables? A new study at Rutgers shows that certain vegetables broccoli and cauliflower, in particular have natural ingredients that may reduce the risk of developing hereditary cancers.

A research team led by Rutgers' Ah-Ng Tony Kong has revealed that these widely consumed cruciferous vegetables so called because their four-petal flowers resemble crosses are abundant in sulforaphane (SFN). This compound had previously been shown to inhibit some cancers in rodents induced by carcinogens substances or agents external to the body. Kong's investigations, however, focused on whether SFN might inhibit the occurrence of hereditary cancers those arising from one's genetic makeup.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than two-thirds of cancer may be prevented through lifestyle modification, and nearly one-third of these cancer occurrences can be attributed to diet alone.

"Our research has substantiated the connection between diet and cancer prevention, and it is now clear that the expression of cancer-related genes can be influenced by chemopreventive compounds in the things we eat," said Kong, a professor of pharmaceutics in the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Chemopreventive properties are those that prevent, stop or reverse the development of cancer. In a study published online in the journal Carcinogenesis, Kong and his colleagues used a mouse model for human colon cancer to demonstrate the chemopreventive power of SFN and explain how it works to thwart cancer at the biomolecular level.

The researchers employed a specially bred strain of mice (labeled Apc/Min/+) that carry a mutation that switches off a gene (Apc) that suppresses tumors. This is the same gene known to be directly implicated in the development of most colon cancers in humans. When the gene is inactivated in the mice, polyps, which lead to
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Contact: Joseph Blumberg
blumberg@ur.rutgers.edu
732-932-7084 x652
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
17-May-2006


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