Sep 11, 2013 08:48 AM EDT
Application of Broccoli Helps Combat Skin Cancer, Study
Sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli, may protect the skin from dangerous ultra-violet rays and in turn help prevent skin cancer, according to Sally Dickinson, a research assistant professor in the Pharmacology Department at the University of Arizona and a UA Cancer Center member.
"Even though there is heightened awareness about the need for limited sun exposure and use of sunscreens, we're still seeing far too many cases of skin cancer each year," Dickinson said. "We're searching for better methods to prevent skin cancer in formats that are affordable and manageable for public use. Sulforaphane may be an excellent candidate for use in the prevention of skin cancer caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays."
Dickinson suggests that instead of eating the green vegetable, patients can apply it directly on the skin to fight skin cancer.
"Sulforaphane is the kind of compound that has so many incredible theoretical applications if the dosage is measured properly," 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."
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Overexposure to the sun is found to be one of the main causes of the disease, particularly malignant melanomas - the most lethal form of skin cancer.
During her research, Dickinson found that sulforaphane acts as an efficient tool by reducing cancer-causing pathways like the AP-1 protein while activating chemoprotective genes such as the Nrf2 gene.
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