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Sulforaphane, a Dietary Component of Broccoli/Broccoli Sprouts, Inhibits Breast Cancer Stem Cells *

Purpose: The existence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in breast cancer has profound implications for cancer prevention. In this study, we evaluated sulforaphane, a natural compound derived from broccoli/broccoli sprouts, for its efficacy to inhibit breast CSCs and its potential mechanism.

Experimental Design: Aldefluor assay and mammosphere formation assay were used to evaluate the effect of sulforaphane on breast CSCs in vitro. A nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient xenograft model was used to determine whether sulforaphane could target breast CSCs in vivo, as assessed by Aldefluor assay, and tumor growth upon cell reimplantation in secondary mice. The potential mechanism was investigated using Western blotting analysis and β-catenin reporter assay.

Results: Sulforaphane (1-5 μmol/L) decreased aldehyde dehydrogenase–positive cell population by 65% to 80% in human breast cancer cells (P < 0.01) and reduced the size and number of primary mammospheres by 8- to 125-fold and 45% to 75% (P < 0.01), respectively. Daily injection with 50 mg/kg sulforaphane for 2 weeks reduced aldehyde dehydrogenase–positive cells by >50% in nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient xenograft tumors (P = 0.003). Sulforaphane eliminated breast CSCs in vivo, thereby abrogating tumor growth after the reimplantation of primary tumor cells into the secondary mice (P < 0.01). Western blotting analysis and β-catenin reporter assay showed that sulforaphane downregulated the Wnt/β-catenin self-renewal pathway.

Conclusions: Sulforaphane inhibits breast CSCs and downregulates the Wnt/β-catenin self-renewal pathway. These findings support the use of sulforaphane for the chemoprevention of breast cancer stem cells and warrant further clinical evaluation. Clin Cancer Res; 16(9); 2580–90. ©2010 AACR.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 06-02-2013