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Increased Cruciferous Vegetable Intake and Cancer Survival



Background: Vegetables have been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years and are known to protect against various diseases. Cruciferous vegetables specifically have gained attention regarding their anticarcinogenic effects, likely due to their abundance of compounds called glucosinolates. Certain hydrolysis products of glucosinolates, particularly indoles and isothiocyanates demonstrate these anti-cancer effects. Positive correlations have been demonstrated between increased cruciferous vegetable intake and decreased cancer development, but few studies have explored the effects of increased consumption and length of cancer survival. This review analyzes the potential of improving cancer survivability by increasing cruciferous vegetable intake.

Methods: An exhaustive search of available medical literature was conducted in MEDLINE-PubMed, Google Scholar, and Tripdatabase using the search terms: cruciferous, intake, consumption, survive, and cancer. A risk of bias was assessed using JAMAevidence worksheets.

Results: The search terms yielded 18 articles which were screened for relevance. Four articles met the inclusion criteria and were evaluated for quality and risk of bias. In the first study, higher cruciferous vegetable intake was statistically significant (p=0.02) for increased lung cancer-specific survival. The second study showed that a low to moderate intake of cruciferous vegetables favored survival in those with epithelial ovarian cancer (p<0.01). The third study revealed a statistically significant (p=0.03) improvement in survival for ovarian cancer patients who consumed the highest servings of cruciferous vegetables per day (>0.83 servings daily). The last study revealed that consuming > 1 serving of raw broccoli per month resulted in a statistically significant decrease in bladder cancer mortality.

Conclusion: Diets high in cruciferous vegetables may have promising benefits even after a cancer diagnosis. Cruciferous vegetables being low cost, low risk, and easily accessible across many cultural cuisines may be a promising means to improved post- diagnosis cancer survivability and a potential adjunct to current cancer therapies.

Keywords: Cruciferous vegetable intake, cancer survivability, isothiocyanates, indoles, glucosinolates.


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28 May 2020
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