The research suggests that the substance – which is found in broccoli – may help in the prevention or treatment of breast cancer by targeting the cells which help tumours grow.
It was conducted by a team at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Centre and published in the Clinical Cancer Research journal.
However, Dr Joanna Owens, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, stated it is too early to say whether sulforaphane could be useful in this way.
It is still important to include foods such as this in a healthy diet, she added.
The expert remarked: “Although there’s no evidence that individual ‘superfoods’ can protect us against cancer, what we eat can affect our risk of developing several different forms of the disease.”
She advised people to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and cut down on their red and processed meat, saturated fat and salt.