Kala Visvanathan, MB, BS, FRACP, MHS

kala visvanathan

Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health
Modulation of Estrogen Metabolites by Broccoli Sprouts: Novel Intermediate Markers for Chemoprevention

In the last decade the prevention of cancer through the use of chemopreventive agents has become a possibility. We are now faced with how best to begin to assess the effectiveness of potential agents for a variety of cancer sites. With this in mind Dr. Visvanathan plans to explore whether broccoli sprouts, a potential preventive agent against breast cancer alters estrogen metabolite levels in both breast tissue and urine. This study has direct relevance to long term female survivors of Hodgkin’s lymphoma given their increased risk of breast cancer as a result of radiation treatment. At present they are grappling with how to best to screen these young women for breast cancer and reduce their long term risk of breast cancer. From Dr. Visvanathan’s experience, this is clearly a group in need of better preventive strategies. It is unknown whether broccoli sprouts may protect the breast from the long term effects of radiation damage. However in animal models the topical application of a broccoli sprout extract reduced the size of skin cancers. The identification of markers for breast cancer such as estrogen metabolites may also help identify those women more likely to develop breast cancer among female survivors of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. These women could then be targeted with more aggressive screening and risk reduction options.