Sulforaphane: A Broccoli Bioactive Phytocompound with Cancer Preventive Potential

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Sep 25;13(19):4796. doi: 10.3390/cancers13194796.


There is substantial and promising evidence on the health benefits of consuming broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. The most important compound in broccoli, glucoraphanin, is metabolized to SFN by the thioglucosidase enzyme myrosinase. SFN is the major mediator of the health benefits that have been recognized for broccoli consumption. SFN represents a phytochemical of high interest as it may be useful in preventing the occurrence and/or mitigating the progression of cancer. Although several prior publications provide an excellent overview of the effect of SFN in cancer, these reports represent narrative reviews that focused mainly on SFN's source, biosynthesis, and mechanisms of action in modulating specific pathways involved in cancer without a comprehensive review of SFN's role or value for prevention of various human malignancies. This review evaluates the most recent state of knowledge concerning SFN's efficacy in preventing or reversing a variety of neoplasms. In this work, we have analyzed published reports based on in vitro, in vivo, and clinical studies to determine SFN's potential as a chemopreventive agent. Furthermore, we have discussed the current limitations and challenges associated with SFN research and suggested future research directions before broccoli-derived products, especially SFN, can be used for human cancer prevention and intervention.

Keywords: broccoli; cancer; intervention; isothiocyanates; molecular mechanisms; prevention; sulforaphane.

Publication types

  • Review