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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Broccoli may help beat bladder cancer

August 3, 2005

By Alison McCook

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Eating broccoli may help
prevent or slow the spread of bladder cancer, according to
preliminary study findings.

Working in the laboratory, U.S. researchers found that
certain compounds in broccoli appear to interfere with bladder
cancer cells — especially aggressive cells that tend to spread
quickly around the body.

“Preliminary evidence suggests that these compounds may
have some biological activity in slowing the growth of bladder
cancer cells,” study author Dr. Steven Schwartz told Reuters
Health.

However, he cautioned that these results are very
preliminary, and it’s too early to determine, for instance, how
much broccoli people need to eat to get this benefit.

“What we do know is eating a variety of fruits and
vegetables is certainly beneficial,” Schwartz said in an
interview.

Previous research has shown that men who eat broccoli
regularly are less likely to develop bladder cancer, which
kills more than 13,000 Americans each year.

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain
substances that morph into isothiocyanates, which research
suggests may fight cancer.

To investigate further, Schwartz and his colleagues at Ohio
State University in Columbus added isothiocyanates from
broccoli sprouts to different lines of bladder cancer cells. As
a result, they “saw a decrease in the growth of the cells,”
Schwartz noted, particularly in one cell line that is known to
spread quickly throughout the body.

Schwartz noted that researchers have known that eating
cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, broccoli sprouts,
cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts could fight cancer. The
latest research, which Schwartz and his team presented July 18
at the annual Institute of Food Technologists meeting in New
Orleans, may help explain why, he added.

Schwartz noted that broccoli sprouts appear to carry a
higher concentration of isothiocyanates than full-grown
broccoli, which suggests sprouts may be even better for the
body.

“Eat a variety of vegetables in your diet,” Schwartz
advised. “Because there’s all sorts of compounds we’re finding
can be healthy and disease-preventive.”