The study – published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute – reveals that the plant compound delays the development of mammary tumors in mice with similarities to human breast cancer progression.
Led by Dr Shivendra Singh, from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, the research team reveal that administering PEITC, which is found in watercress and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, for 29 weeks was linked with a 56.3% reduction in mammary carcinoma lesions greater than 2mm.
"Although PEITC administration does not confer complete protection against mammary carcinogenesis, mice placed on the PEITC-supplemented diet, compared with mice placed on the control diet, clearly exhibited suppression of carcinoma progression," the authors write.
The authors noted that previous research has suggested PEITC to be effective as a chemopreventative agent in mice for colon, intestinal, and prostate cancer.
In order to determine the efficacy of PEITC in mammary tumors in mice, Singh and her colleagues, placed 68 mice on two diets: 35 on a control diet and 33 on a diet supplemented with PEITC for 29 weeks.
The team revealed that mice receiving the supplemented diet had a 56.3% reduction in mammary carcinoma lesions greater than 2mm. The study was also able to identify certain biomarkers that may be useful in future clinical investigations, they said.
"The discovery of biomarker(s) associated with exposure and activity is critical for clinical development of promising cancer chemopreventative agents."
The authors also pointed out certain limitations of their study, namely that the results may be different in humans than in mice. They noted, however, that PEITC was well-tolerated.
Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Published online ahead of print doi: 10.1093/jnci/djs321
“Biomarkers of Phenethyl Isothiocyanate-Mediated Mammary Cancer Chemoprevention in a Clinically Relevant Mouse Model”
Authors: Shivendra V Singh, Su-Hyeong Kim, Anuradha Sehrawat, Julie A Arlotti, Eun-Ryeong Hahm, et al