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  • Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, Volume 65, Issue 1
  • February 2006, pp. 135-144

Cruciferous vegetables and colo-rectal cancer

  • Anthony Lynn (a1), Andrew Collins (a2), Zoë Fuller (a3), Kevin Hillman (a4) and Brian Ratcliffe (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1079/PNS2005486
  • Published online: 01 March 2007
Abstract

Cruciferous vegetables have been studied extensively for their chemoprotective effects. Although they contain many bioactive compounds, the anti-carcinogenic actions of cruciferous vegetables are commonly attributed to their content of glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are relatively biologically inert but can be hydrolysed to a range of bioactive compounds such as isothiocyanates (ITC) and indoles by the plant-based enzyme myrosinase, or less efficiently by the colonic microflora. A number of mechanisms whereby ITC and indoles may protect against colo-rectal cancer have been identified. In experimental animals cruciferous vegetables have been shown to inhibit chemically-induced colon cancer. However, the results of recent epidemiological cohort studies have been inconsistent and this disparity may reflect a lack of sensitivity of such studies. Possible explanations for the failure of epidemiological studies to detect an effect include: assessment of cruciferous vegetable intake by methods that are subject to large measurement errors; the interaction between diet and genotype has not been considered: the effect that post-harvest treatments may have on biological effects of cruciferous vegetables has not been taken into account.

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Corresponding author: Anthony Lynn fax +44 114 261 0112, email A.Lynn@sheffield.ac.uk
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