Cruciferous Vegetable Compound Protects Against Radiation

Cruciferous vegetable compound protects against radiation

Cruciferous vegetable compound protects against radiation

Friday, October 18, 2013. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published an article ahead of print on October 14, 2013 in which researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center report a protective benefit for 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM), a compound metabolized from indole-3-carbinol which occurs in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, against damage caused by radiation. The finding could lead to protective therapies for healthy tissue in humans undergoing radiation therapy or otherwise exposed to radiation.

"DIM has been studied as a cancer prevention agent for years, but this is the first indication that DIM can also act as a radiation protector," stated coauthor Eliot Rosen, MD, PhD, of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The study involved rats treated with potentially lethal doses of gamma radiation. The animals were divided to receive intraperitoneal or subcutaneous injections of DIM following periods of up to 24 hours after irradiation. Control groups of rats received injections of an inert substance. "All of the untreated rats died, but well over half of the DIM-treated animals remained alive 30 days after the radiation exposure," reported Dr Rosen, who is a professor of oncology, biochemistry and cell & molecular biology at Georgetown University. "We also showed that DIM protects the survival of lethally irradiated mice."

In comparison with untreated animals, mice treated with DIM experienced less of a reduction in red and white blood cells and platelets that normally occurs as a result of radiation therapy. In their introduction to the article, the authors note that low concentrations of the compound have been shown to help protect the cells against oxidative stress.

"DIM could protect normal tissues in patients receiving radiation therapy for cancer, but could also protect individuals from the lethal consequences of a nuclear disaster," Dr Rosen observed.

What's Hot Highlight

Beta-carotene okay with prostate radiation

What's Hot

An article published in the May, 2012 issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology•Biology•Physics reveals that supplementing with beta-carotene, an antioxidant nutrient that acts as a precursor to vitamin A, is safe for prostate cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.

Because radiation therapy works via pro-oxidant effects to damage cancerous tumors, a concern has been raised regarding the concomitant use of antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins C and E, selenium and beta-carotene, as they might prove to be protective to cancerous tissue. The current investigation analyzed data from 383 participants in the Physician's Health Study who underwent radiation therapy for prostate cancer. The subjects were randomized to receive 50 milligrams beta-carotene on alternate days or a placebo from 1982 to 2003.

Over a median follow-up of 10.5 years the risk of lethal prostate cancer, defined as prostate cancer death or bone metastases, was similar between those who received the placebo and subjects who received beta-carotene. "The use of supplemental antioxidant beta-carotene during radiation therapy was not associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer death or metastases," the authors concluded. "This study suggests a lack of harm from supplemental beta-carotene during radiation therapy for prostate cancer."

"This study shows that antioxidant supplementation with beta-carotene during radiation therapy does not appear to detract from the benefit of radiation therapy," commented lead author Danielle Margalit, MD, MPH, who is a radiation oncologist at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "It also suggests that patients may continue to eat a well-balanced diet that contains foods with natural sources of antioxidants at the recommended daily amount."

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Stop reinforcing ADHD behavior

Activation of SIRT1 through calorie restriction or drug treatment delays neurodegeneration in experimental model

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Thursday, October 24 at 3 p.m.

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