A study reported in the August 1, 2007 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute concluded that men who consume more cruciferous vegetables, particularly broccoli and cauliflower, have a lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer. The cruciferous family of vegetables, which also includes cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts, has been associated in previous research with protection from colon, breast, prostate, thyroid, cervical, and other cancers, as well as with slower disease progression.
For the current study, Victoria Kirsh, PhD, of Cancer Care Ontario in Toronto and colleagues utilized data from 29,361 men participating in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Over the 4.2 year average follow-up period, 1,338 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, including 520 with aggressive disease. Dietary questionnaires completed by the participants were analyzed for the association of fruits and vegetables with prostate cancer risk.
While total fruit and vegetable intake was not found to be related to prostate cancer risk, higher intake of dark green as well as cruciferous vegetables was found to be associated with a lower risk of the disease, particularly that which was aggressive and had spread beyond the prostate. Broccoli and cauliflower had especially strong protective associations against aggressive and extraprostatic disease. Men whose intake of broccoli was greatest, at more than one serving per week, had a 45 percent lower risk of extraprostatic disease cancer than men whose intake was least, at less than once per month. Cauliflower was associated with an even greater benefit, with a 52 percent reduction in risk experienced by men who consumed the vegetable more than once per week. The gluocinsolate-derived compounds contained in cruciferous vegetables modify cancer risk by protecting cells from DNA damage, inducing apoptosis, influencing genetic expression, and inhibiting! prostate cancer cell proliferation.
“Aggressive prostate cancer is biologically virulent and associated with poor prognosis. Therefore, if the association that we observed is ultimately found to be causal, a possible means to reduce the burden of this disease may be primary prevention through increased consumption of broccoli, cauliflower, and possibly spinach,” the authors conclude.
Source: Life Extension