~ Broccoli, Chili Peppers May Slow Cancer Growth

By Elizabeth Wagner, ND

Biochemicals found in broccoli and chili peppers may slow the growth of cancer cells, according to a recent presentation by University of Pittsburgh researchers.* Compounds found in these plants may be particularly useful in helping to fight pancreatic and ovarian cancers, two difficult-to-treat cancers with high mortality rates.

Sanjay Srivastava, PhD, presented his team's findings to the American Association for Cancer Research in Anaheim, CA, last spring. The researchers applied the chili pepper compound capsaicin, which is best known for making chili peppers hot, to a laboratory culture of pancreatic cancer cells. The capsaicin promoted apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in pancreatic cancer cells, but did not affect normal pancreatic cells.

The researchers also examined the effects of phenethyl isothiocyanate � a compound in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli � on ovarian cancer cells. They found that phenethyl isothiocyanate interfered with epidermal growth factor receptor, a protein involved in the growth of ovarian and other cancers.

Compounds from chili pepper and broccoli may be useful as novel cancer-preventive agents. These findings may help explain the reduced risk of cancer in people who consume an abundance of fruits and vegetables.

Reference

Available at: http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=healthNews&storyID=2005-04-19T202217Z_01_N19109132_ RTRIDST_0_HEALTH-HEALTH-CANCER-FOOD-DC.XML. Accessed May 10, 2005.


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