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Cruciferous Vegetable Consumption Linked to Improved Breast Cancer Survival Rates

April 3, 2012
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  • Intake associated with decreased mortality and recurrence rates.
  • Dose–response relationship observed.
  • Researchers recommend survivors eat more cruciferous vegetables.

CHICAGO — Eating cruciferous vegetables after breast cancer diagnosis was associated with improved survival among Chinese women, according to results presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2012, held here March 31 – April 4.

“Breast cancer survivors can follow the general nutritional guidelines of eating vegetables daily and may consider increasing intake of cruciferous vegetables, such as greens, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, as part of a healthy diet,” said Sarah J. Nechuta, M.P.H., Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

She and her colleagues investigated the role of cruciferous vegetables in breast cancer survival in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study, a prospective study of 4,886 Chinese breast cancer survivors diagnosed with stage 1 to stage 4 breast cancer from 2002 to 2006.

After adjusting for demographics, clinical characteristics and lifestyle factors, the researchers found cruciferous vegetable intake during the first 36 months after breast cancer diagnosis was associated with a reduced risk for total mortality, breast cancer-specific mortality and recurrence in a dose–response pattern. Across increasing quartiles of cruciferous vegetable consumption, risk for total mortality decreased by 27 percent to 62 percent, risk for breast cancer-specific mortality decreased by 22 percent to 62 percent, and risk for recurrence decreased by 21 percent to 35 percent.

Nechuta noted that cruciferous vegetable consumption habits differ between China and the United States and suggested this fact be considered when generalizing these results to U.S. breast cancer survivors.

“Commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables in China include turnips, Chinese cabbage/bok choy and greens, while broccoli and brussels sprouts are the more commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables in the United States and other Western countries,” she said. “Second, the amount of intake among Chinese women is much higher than that of U.S. women. The level of bioactive compounds such as isothiocyanates and indoles, proposed to play a role in the anticancer effects of cruciferous vegetables, depend on both the amount and type of cruciferous vegetables consumed.”

She suggested that future studies with direct measurements of bioactive compounds such as isothiocyanates and host factors that influence the effects of these biological compounds be conducted to better understand the association of cruciferous vegetable intake with breast cancer outcomes.

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Press registration for the AACR Annual Meeting 2012 is free to qualified journalists and public information officers: www.aacr.org/PressRegistration.

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About the AACR

Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR’s membership includes 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in more than 90 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 20 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 18,000 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes seven peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration and scientific oversight of individual and team science grants in cancer research that have the potential for patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. 

For more information about the AACR, visit www.AACR.org.

Media Contact:
Jeremy Moore
(215) 446-7109
Jeremy.Moore@aacr.org
In Chicago, March 31 – April 4:
(312) 528-8206

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