Broccoli sprouts are a convenient and rich source of the glucosinolate, glucoraphanin, which can generate the chemopreventive agent, sulforaphane, an inducer of glutathione S-transferases (GST) and other cytoprotective enzymes. A broccoli sprout-derived beverage providing daily doses of 600 μmol glucoraphanin and 40 μmol sulforaphane was evaluated for magnitude and duration of pharmacodynamic action in a 12-week randomized clinical trial. Two hundred and ninety-one study participants were recruited from the rural He-He Township, Qidong, in the Yangtze River delta region of China, an area characterized by exposures to substantial levels of airborne pollutants. Exposure to air pollution has been associated with lung cancer and cardiopulmonary diseases. Urinary excretion of the mercapturic acids of the pollutants, benzene, acrolein, and crotonaldehyde, were measured before and during the intervention using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Rapid and sustained, statistically significant (P ≤ 0.01) increases in the levels of excretion of the glutathione-derived conjugates of benzene (61%), acrolein (23%), but not crotonaldehyde, were found in those receiving broccoli sprout beverage compared with placebo. Excretion of the benzene-derived mercapturic acid was higher in participants who were GSTT1-positive than in the null genotype, irrespective of study arm assignment. Measures of sulforaphane metabolites in urine indicated that bioavailability did not decline over the 12-week daily dosing period. Thus, intervention with broccoli sprouts enhances the detoxication of some airborne pollutants and may provide a frugal means to attenuate their associated long-term health risks.
©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.