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Veggies Show Promise As Prostate Cancer Treatment

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No offense to George H.W. Bush, but eating broccoli is good for men's health. The former president who famously banned the green veggie from the White House might have second thoughts now, thanks to researchers at the University of California at Berkeley.

Men who eat lots of vegetables are more likely to avoid prostate cancer, but now researchers say a chemical in broccoli and cauliflower may help treat the disease. The chemical has not been tested on humans yet, and turning it into a usable drug may be years away.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men in the United States and kills about 30,000 each year, according to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition.

The Cal researchers investigated the cancer-fighting effects of chemicals in vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. They found that the chemical known as DIM - a byproduct of eating cruciferous vegetables - appeared to prevent the growth of breast cancer cells. They then found that prostate-cancer cells treated with DIM grew 70 percent more slowly than untreated cells.

The chemical appears to prevent cancer cells from receiving signals from the hormone testosterone. That, in turn, prevents the cells from growing. By contrast, traditional hormone therapy for prostate cancer is designed to prevent testosterone from getting to the cells in the first place.

Researchers suggest that DIM could be used with hormone therapy, allowing doctors to reduce the side effects of lowering testosterone levels.

The research appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.


National Prostate Cancer Coalition:

- Journal of Biological Chemistry:


SOURCE: HealthDay


Edited and compiled by Ray Walker.


(c) 2003, Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

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