Vegetables May Significantly
Improve Breast Cancer Survival
A study by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and Shanghai
Center for Disease Control and Prevention investigators
reveals that breast cancer survivors who eat more
cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, spinach and
kale, as well as cabbage and
cauliflower may have improved survival.
The study was presented at the
American Association for Cancer Research Annual
Meeting in Chicago, Ill.
Breast cancer survivors should follow the
accepted nutritional guidelines of eating vegetables
daily and specifically increase intake of cruciferous
broccoli greens, cabbage and cauliflower as part of a
total healthy dietary regimen.
Researchers investigated the role of cruciferous
vegetables in breast cancer survival among women in the
Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study, a prospective
study of 4,886 Chinese breast cancer survivors who were
diagnosed with stage 1 to stage 4 breast cancer from the
period 2002 to 2006.
After adjusting for lifestyle factors,
demographics and clinical characteristics, the
researchers determined cruciferous vegetable intake
during the first 36 months after breast cancer diagnosis
was associated with a reduced risk for total mortality,
specific breast cancer mortality and recurrence of the
disease. Survival rates were influenced by vegetable
consumption. Women who regularly ate more of these
vegetables, their risk of death or cancer recurrence
Women who were in the highest quartiles of intake of
vegetables per day had a 62 percent reduced risk of
total mortality, 62 percent reduced risk of breast
cancer mortality, and 35 percent reduced risk of breast
cancer recurrence, compared to women with the lowest
quartile of intake.
consumption habits differ between China and the
The amount of dietary intake of these vegetables
among Chinese women is much higher than that of
The most commonly consumed cruciferous
vegetables in China include turnips, Chinese
cabbage (bok choy) and greens;In the United States and
other Western countries, broccoli and Brussels sprouts
are the most commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables.
The key nutritional advantage of
cruciferous vegetables is they contain powerful
protective phytochemicals known as isothiocyanates and
indoles; these appear have the beneficial protective
effect against some types of cancer. The levels of these
bioactive compounds, which play a key role in the
anticancer effects of cruciferous vegetables, depends on
the amount and type of cruciferous vegetables regularly
Future studies will measure the bioactive
isothio-cyanate and indole compounds in these vegetables
and the host factors that may influence their protective
effects to improve the understanding of the association
between cruciferous vegetable consumption and breast
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
(2012, April 3) "Eating cruciferous
vegetables may improve breast cancer survival."
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