While Brassica oleracea vegetables have been linked to cancer prevention, the exact mechanism remains unknown. Regulation of gene expression by cross-species microRNAs has been previously reported; however, its link to cancer suppression remains unexplored. In this study we address both issues. We confirm plant microRNAs in human blood in a large nutrigenomics study cohort and in a randomized dose-controlled trial, finding a significant positive correlation between the daily amount of broccoli consumed and the amount of microRNA in the blood. We also demonstrate that Brassica microRNAs regulate expression of human genes and proteins in vitro, and that microRNAs cooperate with other Brassica-specific compounds in a possible cancer-preventive mechanism. Combined, we provide strong evidence and a possible multimodal mechanism for broccoli in cancer prevention.
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