Broccoli vs. Breast Cancer Stem Cells

Broccoli vs. Breast Cancer Stem Cells
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A new theory of cancer biology—cancer stem cells—and the role played by sulforaphane, a phytonutrient produced by cruciferous vegetables.

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Over the last decade, a new theory of cancer biology has emerged—the cancer stem cell. Normal stem cells are involved in organ repair. Stained here in red, they travel around the body, sit, and wait—until there’s some damage, and step in and replace whatever structures are necessary. Lost a little skin here; bone or muscle there; need to regrow a new tooth? These cells are ready and willing. And, the best part, they’re built to last a lifetime. But those same qualities—migration, colonization, proliferation, self-renewal, immortality—can be used against us, when stem cells go bad, and decide to build tumors instead.

Cancer stem cells may explain cancer spread and cancer recurrence. That may be why cancer tends to come back. There may be no cure; only remission. You can have a breast cancer relapse 20 to 25 years after you thought it went away. Thanks, potentially, to cancer stem cells.

Our current armamentarium of chemo drugs and radiation is based on animal models. If the tumor shrinks, it’s a success. But lab rats only live two or three years. All these new fancy therapies like antiangiogenesis—cutting off the blood supplies to tumors, that’s great, but the cancer stems cells may be like, “Fine, I’ll go somewhere else and grow another tumor.” What we need is to strike at the root of cancer—treatments aimed not at just reducing tumor bulk, but rather at targeting the “beating heart” of the tumor, the cancer stem cell. Enter, broccoli.

Sulforaphane, a dietary component of broccoli and broccoli sprouts, appears to inhibit breast cancer stem cells. Breast tissue naturally has lots of stem cells. Your body never knows when you’re going to get pregnant, and have to start making a lot of new milk glands. Researchers recently discovered this compound in broccoli that may destroy cancerous stem cells, and keep them from going rogue in the first place.

Estrogen-receptor-positive human breast tumor; here’s an estrogen-receptor-negative breast tumor. Let’s add some broccoli juice. Going; going; nearly gone. Stem cell hotspots, before and after the broccoli.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Over the last decade, a new theory of cancer biology has emerged—the cancer stem cell. Normal stem cells are involved in organ repair. Stained here in red, they travel around the body, sit, and wait—until there’s some damage, and step in and replace whatever structures are necessary. Lost a little skin here; bone or muscle there; need to regrow a new tooth? These cells are ready and willing. And, the best part, they’re built to last a lifetime. But those same qualities—migration, colonization, proliferation, self-renewal, immortality—can be used against us, when stem cells go bad, and decide to build tumors instead.

Cancer stem cells may explain cancer spread and cancer recurrence. That may be why cancer tends to come back. There may be no cure; only remission. You can have a breast cancer relapse 20 to 25 years after you thought it went away. Thanks, potentially, to cancer stem cells.

Our current armamentarium of chemo drugs and radiation is based on animal models. If the tumor shrinks, it’s a success. But lab rats only live two or three years. All these new fancy therapies like antiangiogenesis—cutting off the blood supplies to tumors, that’s great, but the cancer stems cells may be like, “Fine, I’ll go somewhere else and grow another tumor.” What we need is to strike at the root of cancer—treatments aimed not at just reducing tumor bulk, but rather at targeting the “beating heart” of the tumor, the cancer stem cell. Enter, broccoli.

Sulforaphane, a dietary component of broccoli and broccoli sprouts, appears to inhibit breast cancer stem cells. Breast tissue naturally has lots of stem cells. Your body never knows when you’re going to get pregnant, and have to start making a lot of new milk glands. Researchers recently discovered this compound in broccoli that may destroy cancerous stem cells, and keep them from going rogue in the first place.

Estrogen-receptor-positive human breast tumor; here’s an estrogen-receptor-negative breast tumor. Let’s add some broccoli juice. Going; going; nearly gone. Stem cell hotspots, before and after the broccoli.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

Broccoli also protects our DNA. See DNA Protection From Broccoli, and my other videos on greens and my other videos on cancer.

Note that most of the sources for this video are open access, so you can click on them in the Sources Cited section, above, and read them full-text for free.

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Breast Cancer Stem Cells vs. BroccoliFighting Inflammation with Food SynergyAntioxidants in a Pinch: Dried Herbs and SpicesHow to Enhance Mineral AbsorptionBreast Cancer Stem Cells vs. BroccoliTreating PMS with SaffronAre Bioidentical Hormones Safe?The Anti-Wrinkle DietIncreasing Muscle Strength with FenugreekHow Tumors Use Meat to GrowMushrooms for Breast Cancer PreventionPrevent Breast Cancer by Any Greens NecessaryFoods That May Block Cancer Formation; and Breast Cancer & Alcohol: How Much Is Safe?.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

14 responses to “Broccoli vs. Breast Cancer Stem Cells

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  1. The amazing brocolli! How much broccoli does one need to consume to protect from Breast cancer, and what is the best way to ingest? Does it need to be raw, and how do you recommend it should be made?




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      1. I was once told by a nutritionist that the properties in broccoli can be increased in potency by eating it along with whole grain mustard. I’ve tried it a few times and it does make a tasty combination.




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        1. Hi Kev Macleod,
          Thanks for your comment. Yes that is true Dr Greger mentions that, boiling broccoli prevents the formation of any significant levels of sulforaphane due to inactivation of the enzyme. However, addition of powdered mustard seeds to the heat processed broccoli significantly increased the formation of sulforaphane.




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  2. I buy really cheap broccoli sprout seeds from E & R Seeds, an Amish source. About $5 dollars or more cheaper than most sites I have researched.




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