Broccoli compound may reduce risk of skin cancer

September 9, 2013

Sulforaphane, a naturally occurring compound in broccoli, may offer potential as a sunscreen additive, recent research indicates.

 

Sulforaphane, a naturally occurring compound in broccoli, may offer potential as a sunscreen additive, recent research indicates.

With evidence indicating that a diet heavy in vegetables such as broccoli sprouts may reduce the risk for various forms of cancer, this pilot study is being conducted by Sally Dickinson, Ph.D., with the department of pharmacology, University of Arizona, Tucson, in partnership with Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Investigators are looking at the potential chemopreventive properties of skin application of small doses of sulforaphane, according to a news release.

The research demonstrates that sulforaphane is an effective agent for inhibiting cancer-causing pathways such as the AP-1 protein and for activating chemoprotective genes such as the Nrf2 gene. The pilot study will test a topical solution of broccoli sprouts on the skin in a group of patients to determine whether the compound will work against solar simulated light.

“Sulforaphane is the kind of compound that has so many incredible theoretical applications if the dosage is measured properly,” Dr. Dickinson said. “We already know that it is very effective in blocking sunburns, and we have seen cases where it can induce protective enzymes in the skin.”

Already, sulforaphane is being studied through the Chemoprevention of Skin Cancer Program Project Grant, for topical use in the prevention of UV-induced skin cancers.

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