Cancer-protective properties of high-selenium broccoli

J Agric Food Chem. 2001 May;49(5):2679-83. doi: 10.1021/jf0014821.


Selenium (Se) from high-Se garlic reduces the incidence of chemically induced mammary tumors, and Se from high-Se broccoli reduces colon cancer. However, the ability of Se from high-Se broccoli to protect against mammary cancer has not been tested. Also, the sprout form of broccoli contains many secondary plant compounds that are known to reduce cancer risk, but the anticarcinogenic activity of broccoli sprouts has not been investigated. The present studies examined the ability of high-Se broccoli or high-Se broccoli sprouts to protect against chemically induced mammary or colon cancer. In one experiment, Sprague--Dawley rats that consumed diets containing 3.0 microg of Se/g supplied as high-Se broccoli had significantly fewer mammary tumors than rats fed 0.1 microg of Se as selenite with or without the addition of regular broccoli. In the second experiment, Fisher F-344 rats fed 2.0 microg of Se/g of diet supplied as either high-Se broccoli florets or high-Se broccoli sprouts had significantly fewer aberrant colon crypts than rats fed 0.1 or 2 microg of Se/g of diet supplied as selenite with or without the addition of low-Se broccoli. These data demonstrate that the cancer-protective effect of Se in high-Se broccoli extends to mammary cancer and the protective forms of broccoli against colon cancer include high-Se broccoli sprouts.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Brassica / chemistry*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Selenium / therapeutic use*


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Selenium