Broccoli may not offer protection against lung cancer

December 14, 2010 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News

Broccoli may not offer protection against lung cancer
While previous studies have hinted that eating broccoli might help fight lung cancer, new study findings from researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee have found no link between the two.

To investigate, researchers used data from a large health study following 75,000 Shanghai women between the ages of 40 and 70.

Researchers looked at women's risk of the cancer and their urinary levels of isothiocyanates, compounds in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, thought to have anti-cancer properties.

When the researchers divided the women into four groups based on urinary isothiocyanates levels, they found no overall relationship between the compound and lung cancer risk. That was true regardless of factors like the women's age and exposure to secondhand smoke.

Interestingly, researchers note there may be a genetic link to the protective effects of cruciferous vegetables when it comes to lung cancer.  Researchers found that some women who carried a specific gene, called GSTM1, were less likely to develop lung cancer when they had higher levels of isothiocyanates. 

Women without the gene had a higher risk of lung cancer, regardless of their levels of isothiocyanates.  Unfortunately neither relationship was statistically significant, indicating more studies are needed on the subject.

While the exact link between broccoli consumption and lung cancer risk remains to be seen, cruciferous vegetables are a healthy choice.  Research does show that a diet high in non-starchy vegetables may reduce your risk of some cancers such as stomach, mouth and throat, as well help you maintain a healthy body weight.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.