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Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, affecting more than 1.3 million men worldwide. Many men undergo radical prostatectomy to treat their cancer. Findings from a 2015 study demonstrated that sulforaphane reduces biochemical recurrence in men who have had prostate cancer.

Biochemical recurrence is a phenomenon in which serum levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels increase. It is an indicator of localized or metastatic disease. As many as 40 percent of men treated with radical prostatectomy experience biochemical recurrence; 34 percent of these will develop metastatic disease.

The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study involved 75 men (average age, 69 years) who had undergone radical prostatectomy and were experiencing increased PSA levels. Roughly half of the men took a supplement providing 60 milligrams of sulforaphane for six months; the other half took a placebo. The authors of the study measured the men’s PSA levels before and two months after the treatment ended.

Increases in the average PSA levels were much lower among the men who took the sulforaphane. The PSA doubling time among men who took sulforaphane was ~29 months; doubling time among the men who took the placebo was ~16 months – an 86 percent difference. The effects of sulforaphane remained up to three months after the intervention.

These findings suggest that sulforaphane shows promise as a strategy to prevent biochemical recurrence among men who have had radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer. Additional studies are needed to confirm these findings.

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