Induction of medulloblastoma cell apoptosis by sulforaphane, a dietary anticarcinogen from Brassica vegetables

Cancer Lett. 2004 Jan 8;203(1):35-43. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2003.08.025.


There is increasing evidence that a variety of natural substances derived from the diet may act as potent chemopreventive agents. In this work, we show that DAOY cells, a widely used model of metastatic medulloblastoma (MBL), are highly sensitive to sulforaphane, a naturally occurring isothiocyanate from Brassica vegetables. Sulforaphane induced DAOY cell death by apoptosis, as determined by DNA fragmentation and chromatin condensation. DAOY apoptosis correlates with the induction of caspase-3 and -9 activities, resulting in the cleavage of PARP and vimentin. Both the cytotoxic effect and apoptotic characteristics induced by sulforaphane were reversed by zVAD-fmk, a broad spectrum caspase inhibitor, demonstrating the important role of caspases in its cytotoxic effect. These results identify sulforaphane as a novel inducer of MBL cell apoptosis, supporting the potential clinical usefulness of diet-derived substances as chemopreventive agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspase 9
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Medulloblastoma / enzymology
  • Medulloblastoma / prevention & control*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / prevention & control
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Thiocyanates / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Vegetables / chemistry*
  • Vimentin / metabolism


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Proteins
  • Thiocyanates
  • Vimentin
  • CASP3 protein, human
  • CASP9 protein, human
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspase 9
  • Caspases
  • sulforafan