Broccoli (Isothiocyanates) May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk


A new laboratory study suggests that isothiocyanates in broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables, may significantly decrease breast cancer risk.




As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, cruciferous (brassica) vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage, are rich in compounds known as isothiocyanates.  These compounds have been shown to have several different anti-cancer effects in laboratory studies, and against multiple different types of cancer.   A newly published laboratory research study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggests that dietary isothiocyanates may be particularly active against breast cancer.

In this new study, laboratory mice prone to developing breast cancer similar to human breast cancers were divided into two groups.  One group (the “experimental” group) received phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) as a dietary supplement, while the other group of mice (the “control” group) did not receive this supplement.  The results of this study were rather dramatic.

In the group of mice that received the PEITC supplement, only 19 percent developed breast cancer, whereas 40 percent of the mice in the control group developed breast cancer.  Among all mice that did go on to develop breast cancer, dietary supplementation with PEITC was associated with a 56 percent reduction in the size of breast tumors, as measured under a microscope.  Moreover, dietary isothiocyanates appeared to reduce the risk of breast cancer, and the size of breast tumors, through multiple different biological mechanisms, including decreased growth and reproduction of tumor cells, decreased growth of new blood vessels necessary to support growing tumors, and increased cancer cell death through a mechanism known as apoptosis.

The findings of this laboratory study revealed multiple and rather profound actions of isothiocyanate against cancer cells and tumors in mice prone to developing human-like breast cancers.  Of course, what works in laboratory mice does not always work in human beings, unfortunately.  At this time, however, there are 7 active human clinical trials looking at isothiocyanates in the prevention and treatment of various types of cancer.  Meanwhile, Mom’s advice to eat your broccoli may turn out to have been very good advice indeed!


At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


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