An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and perhaps a serving of broccoli or watercress can help keep cancer at bay. A compound and an enzyme that occur naturally in cruciferous vegetables–cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts–may help prevent recurrence and spread of some cancers, according to researchers. When they treated human cervical cancer stem cells with phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) in a Petri dish, about 75 percent died within 24 hours using a 20-micromolar concentration of the compound.
Though cancer stem cells make up less than 5 percent of a tumor, they can regenerate the original tumor and migrate through the blood vessels spreading cancer to secondary locations.
Based on information from scientific literature, the concentrations of PEITC that Dey and her team typically use in their research — 5 to 15 micromolars — may be achieved through diets rich in certain types of cruciferous vegetables, particularly land and watercress.
- Dan Wang, Bijaya Upadhyaya, Yi Liu, David Knudsen, Moul Dey.Phenethyl isothiocyanate upregulates death receptors 4 and 5 and inhibits proliferation in human cancer stem-like cells. BMC Cancer, 2014; 14 (1): 591 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2407-14-591