Feb. 28, 2008 -- Natural chemicals in broccoli sprouts may curb bladder cancer.
That news comes from lab tests done on rats exposed to a chemical that causes bladder cancer.
Those rats were more resistant to bladder cancer if freeze-dried broccoli sprout extract had been added to their chow before, during, and after exposure to the bladder cancer carcinogen.
The credit may go to nutrients called isothiocyanates, especially one called sulforaphane, which the researchers call "a highly promising cancer chemopreventive agent."
Sulforaphane is found in cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli and cauliflower, note the researchers, who made their own broccoli sprout extract for the study.
According to the researchers, the findings may explain why people who eat lots of fruits and vegetables -- especially cruciferous vegetables -- tend to have lower risk of bladder cancer.
The broccoli sprout extract didn't hurt the rats' bladder cells.
The rats that got the broccoli sprout extract gained less weight overall but wound up with heavier bladders than rats that didn't get the broccoli sprout extract. Those weight changes were reversed by halting the broccoli sprout extract.
The study appears in the March 1 edition of Cancer Research.
In the journal, one of the researchers -- Jed Fahey, MS, ScD, of Johns Hopkins University -- reports that he is a founder, consultant, and stockholder in Brassica Protection Products, which sells broccoli sprouts.