High Selenium Broccoli Stymies Some Cancers

High-SeleniumBroccoli Stymies Some Cancers

ScienceUpdate was published in the April 2002 issue ofAgricultural Research magazine.

JohnW. Finley, USDA-ARS Grand Forks Human NutritionResearch Center, Grand Forks, North Dakota; phone (701) 795-8366

Broccolistores selenium in an especially useful form (called SeMSC) that is easilyconverted into an active anticancer agent. Now scientists have succeeded ingreatly boosting the selenium in specially grown broccoli.

Earlierstudies showed that laboratory rats fed experimental high-selenium broccoli andbroccoli sprouts developed fewer precancerous lesions when exposed to knowncarcinogens than did rats given selenium salts-either selenate or selenite.The rats were fed the rough equivalent of a 200-microgram human dose of seleniumdaily.

Thenew tests showed that high-selenium broccoli sprouts protected the rats againstprecancerous lesions in the colon, while high-selenium broccoli protectedagainst mammary tumors.

Speciallyproduced for this research, the experimental broccoli heads and sprouts used inthese studies aren't available commercially. And further study is needed to showwhether these findings will also prove true in humans.