Cruciferous vegetables, genetic polymorphisms in glutathione S-transferases M1 and T1, and prostate cancer risk

Nutr Cancer. 2004;50(2):206-13. doi: 10.1207/s15327914nc5002_11.


Cruciferous vegetables contain anticarcinogenic isothiocyanates (ITCs), particularly the potent sulforaphane, which may decrease risk of prostate cancer through induction of phase II enzymes, including glutathione S-transferases (GSTs). We evaluated this hypothesis in a population-based, case-control study of prostate cancer, including 428 men with incident prostate cancer and 537 community controls. An in-person interview included an extensive food-frequency questionnaire. Genotyping for deletions in GSTM1 and GSTT1 was performed in a subset of men who provided blood. Intakes of cruciferous vegetables and of broccoli, the greatest source of sulforaphane, were associated with decreased prostate cancer risk at all levels above the lowest consumers [adjusted 4th quartile odds ratio (OR)=0.58; 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.38, 0.89, and 0.72 (95% CI=0.49, 1.06)], respectively. In relation to genotypes, there was a nonsignificant increase in risk with the GSTT1 null genotype (OR=1.51; 95% CI=0.98, 2.31) but no effects of GSTM1 genotype. However, men with GSTM1-present genotype and high broccoli intake had the greatest reduction in risk (OR=0.49; 95% CI=0.27, 0.89). Our findings provide evidence that two or more servings per month of cruciferous vegetables may reduce risk of prostate cancer, especially among men with GSTM1-present alleles, and are consistent with a role of dietary ITCs as chemopreventive agents against prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brassicaceae*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Glutathione Transferase / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Vegetables*


  • glutathione S-transferase T1
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • glutathione S-transferase M1