Anticancer activity of broccoli, its organosulfur and polyphenolic compounds

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2023 May 2:1-19. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2023.2195493. Online ahead of print.


The use of natural bioactive constituents from various food sources for anticancer purposes has become increasingly popular worldwide. Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) is on the top of the consumed vegetables by the masses. Its raw matrix contains a plethora of phytochemicals, such as glucosinolates and phenolic compounds, along with rich amounts of vitamins, and minerals. Consumption of broccoli-derived phytochemicals provides strong antioxidant effects, particularly due to its sulforaphane content, while modulating numerous molecules involved in cell cycle regulation, control of apoptosis, and tuning enzyme activity. Thus, the inclusion of broccoli in the daily diet lowers the susceptibility to developing cancers. Numerous studies have underlined the undisputable role of broccoli in the diet as a chemopreventive raw food, owing to the content in sulforaphane, an isothiocyanate produced as a result of hydrolysis of precursor glucosinolates called glucoraphanin. This review will provide evidence supporting the specific role of fresh florets and sprouts of broccoli and its key bioactive constituents in the prevention and treatment of different cancers; a number of studies carried out in the in vitro and in vivo conditions as well as clinical trials were analyzed.

Keywords: Antitumor effect; Brassica oleracea var. italica; Chemoprevention; Flavonoids; Glucosinolates; Sulforaphane.