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Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2010 Nov 29;64:590-603.

[Sulforaphane--a possible agent in prevention and therapy of cancer].

[Article in Polish]

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Katedra Biotechnologii i Mikrobiologii Żywności, Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy w Poznaniu, ul. Wojska Polskiego 48, 60-627 Poznań.


Sulforaphane (SFN) is an isothiocyanate that is naturally present in cruciferous vegetables, with high concentration in broccoli. The results of the most recent studies indicate multi-targeted sulforaphane actions which may contribute to prevention and therapy of cancer. Protective properties of sulforaphane have been observed in every stage of carcinogenesis. The mechanism of protection against the initiation of carcinogenesis by SFN includes modulation of phase I and II xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes, as well as direct blocking of specific binding sites of carcinogens with the DNA molecule. As a result, sulforaphane inhibits DNA adduct formation, thus reducing the risk of mutations. Further sulforaphane activity is targeted at cancer cells and prevents their expansion due to regulation of proliferation and induction of differentiation or apoptosis. In vitro studies using various types of cancer cells have revealed the ability of SFN to arrest the cell cycle, particularly in G2/M, while SFN at higher concentration is shown to activate apoptotic pathways. The possible SFN anticancer effect in the progression stage of carcinogenesis has been proved by only a few studies, which provide evidence for its antiangiogenic and antimetastatic influence. Additionally, SFN exhibits anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects relevant to cancer prevention. Apart from the biological activity of SFN, this review also focuses on its bioavailability and tissue distribution as well as individuals' genetic predispositions as significant factors influencing the potential efficiency of chemoprevention using this compound.

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