06:43pm Wednesday 20 September 2017

Discovery of a biochemical basis for broccoli's cancer-fighting ability

Fung-Lung Chung and colleagues showed in previous experiments that substances called isothiocyanates (or ITCs) — found in broccoli, cauliflower, watercress, and other cruciferous vegetables — appear to stop the growth of cancer. But nobody knew exactly how these substances work, a key to developing improved strategies for fighting cancer in humans. The tumor suppressor gene p53 appears to play a key role in keeping cells healthy and preventing them from starting the abnormal growth that is a hallmark of cancer. When mutated, p53 does not offer that protection, and those mutations occur in half of all human cancers. ITCs might work by targeting this gene, the report suggests.

The scientists studied the effects of certain naturally-occurring ITCs on a variety of cancer cells, including lung, breast and colon cancer, with and without the defective tumor suppressor gene. They found that ITCs are capable of removing the defective p53 protein but apparently leave the normal one alone. Drugs based on natural or custom-engineered ITCs could improve the effectiveness of current cancer treatments or lead to new strategies for treating and preventing cancer.


The authors acknowledged funding from the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award and a grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

ARTICLE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE “Selective Depletion of Mutant p53 by Cancer Chemoprevention Isothiocyanates and Their Structure-Activity Relationships”

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/jm101199t

Fung-Lung Chung, Ph.D.
Department of Oncology
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Georgetown University
Washington, D.C. 20057
Phone: 202-687-3021
Fax: 202-687-1068
Email: flc6@georgetown.edu

Contact: Michael Bernstein
American Chemical Society

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