Glucosinolate- and selenium-enriched broccoli as functional food for prostate cancer prevention (BMBF-BroCan)

Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer for men in Germany. Epidemiological as well as experimental data suggest a preventive role of broccoli constituents in prostate cancer. Glucosinolates and selenium are suggested as the major anticancer-acting constituents of broccoli. At present, the selenium intake in Germany is at the lower end of the recommended intake; thus, an increased supply of selenium and glucosinolatesy food consumption could substantially contribute to reduce prostate cancer risk.

The aim of the network project is to optimize the content of the two "key components", selenium and glucosinolates, without compromising plant growth and stress tolerance. As a result, functional broccoli products providing elevated quantities of selenium and glucosinolates will become available and will be used to study their chemopreventive activity and their effects on biomarkers of prostate cancer in cell culture and in animal models.

In vivo studies in humans conducted at the Max-Rubner-Institute in Karlsruhe will monitor the bioavailability of key components and investigate short-term health-benefits of such newly developed functional broccoli products. In addition, the potential of glucosinolates and selenium for the prevention of prostate cancer will be investigated in an observational cohort study in Germany (EPIC), applying biomarkers of dietary intake. 

Project partners:

The project benefits from the close interaction between plant scientist, molecular biologists, nutritionists, food chemists, epidemiologists, and partners from industry.

  • DKFZ German Cancer Research CenterDivision of Epigenomics and Cancer Risk Factors, Cancer Chemoprevention Group (Coordinator)Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Unit Nutritional Epidemiology
  • HIP Heidelberg Institute of Plant Sciences Division of Molecular Ecophysiology Division of Molecular Biology
  • MRI Max-Rubner-Institute (Karlsruhe)
    Department of Physiology and Biochemistry of Nutrition
  • DFA Federal Institute of Food Chemistry (Garching)
    Research Group Physiological Effects of Food Ingredients
  • Fa. Unilever Deutschland GmbH / Foods Division (Heilbronn)
  • Fa. Fruchtsaft Bayer (Ditzingen-Heimerdingen)
  • Subcontractor:
    NIG Nahrungsingenieurtechnik GmbH (Magdeburg)


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