Cruciferous veg again linked to bladder cancer protection

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bladder cancer, Epidemiology

An increased intake of cruciferous vegetables may slash the risk of
bladder cancer by 36 per cent, says new research that attributes
the benefits to the isothiocyanate content.

The benefits were limited to raw vegetables, report the researchers in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention​, while no benefits were observed for the consumption of fruit and other vegetables. "This study is the first epidemiologic study considering raw versus cooked consumption in the evaluation of the relationship between cruciferous vegetable intake and bladder cancer risk,"​ wrote lead author Li Tang from Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. "We found that only intake of raw cruciferous vegetables, but not cooked, fruit or other vegetables, showed a strong and statistically significant inverse association with bladder cancer risk." ​ Epidemiological and animal studies have shown that diets high in cruciferous vegetables result in fewer instances of certain cancers, especially lung, colon, breast and ovarian cancer, and builds on a study published last year that claimed to be the first epidemiological study linking isothiocyanates from cruciferous vegetable to a reduced risk of bladder cancer. Bladder cancer is diagnosed in about 336,000 people every year worldwide, and it is three times more likely to affect men than women, according to the European School of Oncology. The Roswell Park researchers collected dietary data from 275 hospital-based bladder cancer patients and 825 cancer-free people, and found that those who consumed the highest consumption of raw cruciferous vegetables was associated with a 36 per cent reduction in bladder cancer risk. Furthermore, stronger protective effects were observed among current and heavy smokers with an intake of three or more servings of raw cruciferous vegetables per month associated with a 54 and 40 per cent reduction, respectively. On the other hand, not benefits were observed when the researchers considered the combined raw and cooked cruciferous vegetable intake. "Cooking can substantially reduce or destroy isothiocyanates, and could account for study inconsistencies,"​ stated the authors. Cancer-fighting compounds ​ Last year, researchers from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center reported similar results to the Roswell Park scientists. The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer​ (Vol. 120, pp. 2208 - 2213) stated that an increased intake of cruciferous vegetables was associated with a 30 per cent reduction in the risk of bladder cancer. The anti-cancer properties of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, are not new and previous studies have related these benefits to the high levels of active plant chemicals called glucosinolates. These are metabolised by the body into isothiocynates, and evidence suggests these are powerful anti-carcinogens. The main isothiocynate from broccoli, for example, is sulforaphane. Other studies have proposed that the compound indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a phytochemical found naturally in cruciferous vegetables, could also have potential prevention activity against hormone-responsive tumours, such as breast, ovarian and prostate cancer. Source: Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention​ 1st April 2008, Volume 17, Pages 938-944, doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-07-2502 "Consumption of Raw Cruciferous Vegetables is Inversely Associated with Bladder Cancer Risk" ​Authors: L. Tang, G.R. Zirpoli, K. Guru, K.B. Moysich, Y. Zhang, C.B. Ambrosone, S.E. McCann

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