Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, collards, and kale, are thought to have anti-cancer activity. The chemical responsible for the majority of the cancer-cell fighting effects is called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is found at particularly high levels in broccoli.
Much work has been done to identify the ways in which sulforaphane inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Previously, it has been shown that the chemical changes the way that DNA is utilized. It does this by interefering with proteins (histone deacetylases) that modify the proteins that organize our DNA (called histones).
New research with prostate cancer cells has shown that sulforaphane has more tricks up its sleeve. The chemical is able to change the way other enzymes modify DNA, again leading to altered cell behavior and inhibition of cancer cell growth.