Broccoli Fights Cancer by Clearing Bad Tumor Suppressors

27 Jan

Generations of American children have been told, “Eat your broccoli!” And for decades, researchers have known that broccoli and related vegetables like cauliflower and watercress appeared to lower the risk of some cancers. And that compounds in the vegetables could kill cancer cells. But how the cruciferous veggies worked their medical magic was a mystery. Until now. Because researchers have figured out just what broccoli does that helps keep cancer in check. The work appears in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry . [Xiantao Wang et al., " Selective Depletion of Mutant p53 by Cancer Chemoprevention Isothiocyanates and Their Structure-Activity Relationships "]

Proteins coded by the gene p53 help keep cancer from starting to grow. But when the p53 gene is mutated, the protection is gone. Mutated p53 is implicated in about half of all human cancers.