A new study has reported that sulforaphane, a natural component of broccoli and other brassica vegetables, reduces the growth of breast cancer stem cells and impairs their viability. The effects of sulforaphane on breast cancer stem cells in the laboratory were evaluated using various methods. Sulforaphane was found to reduce the stem cell population (as measured by a stem cell marker) by 65% to 80% in human breast cancer cells. In an additional experiment, mice were implanted with breast cancer xenografts and the tumors were treated directly with sulforaphane.

The impact of the treatment was assessed in part by measuring tumor growth upon cell reimplantation into a second group of mice. Daily injection with 50 mg/kg sulforaphane for two weeks was found to reduce the number of stem cells by more than 50% in the xenograft tumors. Sulforaphane's ability to eliminate breast cancer stem cells appeared to prevent tumor growth after the reimplantation of primary tumor cells into the second group of mice. The authors conclude that sulforaphane inhibits breast cancer stem cells and that the findings warrant further clinical evaluation.

Please see our article on how to optimize your breast cancer diet for information on what to eat during all stages of treatment and recovery.