Epidemiological evidence suggests that consumption of cruciferous vegetables is associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer progression, largely attributed to the biological activity of glucosinolate degradation products, such as sulforaphane derived from glucoraphanin. Because there are few therapeutic interventions for men on active surveillance for prostate cancer to reduce the risk of cancer progression, dietary approaches are an appealing option for patients.
We evaluated whether consumption of a glucoraphanin-rich broccoli soup for 1 y leads to changes in gene expression in prostate tissue of men with localized prostate cancer.
Forty-nine men on active surveillance completed a 3-arm parallel randomized double-blinded intervention study for 12 mo and underwent transperineal template biopsy procedures and dietary assessment at the start and end of the study. Patients received a weekly 300 mL portion of soup made from a standard broccoli (control) or from 1 of 2 experimental broccoli genotypes with enhanced concentrations of glucoraphanin, delivering 3 and 7 times that of the control, respectively. Gene expression in tissues from each patient obtained before and after the dietary intervention was quantified by RNA sequencing followed by gene set enrichment analyses.
In the control arm, there were several hundred changes in gene expression in nonneoplastic tissue during the 12 mo. These were associated with an increase in expression of potentially oncogenic pathways including inflammation processes and epithelial–mesenchymal transition. Changes in gene expression and associated oncogenic pathways were attenuated in men on the glucoraphanin-rich broccoli soup in a dose-dependent manner. Although the study was not powered to assess clinical progression, an inverse association between consumption of cruciferous vegetables and cancer progression was observed.
Consuming glucoraphanin-rich broccoli soup affected gene expression in the prostate of men on active surveillance, consistent with a reduction in the risk of cancer progression. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01950143.