Green tea
Picture for representationNorio NAKAYAMA/Flickr

A new research suggests that eating sprouts and drinking green tea can make aggressive breast cancers treatable. According to the study, the compounds present in cruciferous vegetables, such as sprouts, and in green tea can 'turn off' genes for ER-negative forms of the disease.

The study author, professor Trygve Tollefsbol from the University of Alabama in Birmingham said: "Your mother always told you to eat your vegetables, and science now tells us she was right".

All breast cancers are either estrogen receptor(ER)-positive or estrogen receptor(ER)-negative. The tumours in ER-negative breast cancer are likely to respond less to hormone therapy than that of ER-positive, making ER-negative breast cancers typically very aggressive.

Sprouts contain a compound, known as sulforaphane, it 'turns off' tumor genes that influence the development of cancer. And, polyphenols present in green tea have previously been shown to prevent and treat ER-negative breast cancer in mice.

The researchers analysed mice with ER-negative breast cancer after giving them the two compounds found in the foods.

Results reveal that the mice that took the compounds found in cruciferous vegetables and green tea converted aggressive breast cancers into more treatable tumours.

Study author Yuanyuan Li mentioned: "The results of this research provide a novel approach to preventing and treating ER-negative breast cancer, which currently takes hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide."

Lead author Dr Laura Esserman from the University of California in San Francisco said: "This is an important step forward for personalising care for women with breast cancer."

Dr Laura Esserman also added saying: "We can now test small node-negative breast cancers, and if they are in the ultra-low risk category, we can tell women that they are highly unlikely to die of their cancers and do not need aggressive treatment, including radiation after lumpectomy."

The findings were published in the journal 'Scientific Reports'.