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Soy Isoflavones May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Posted Nov 10 2010 7:08am
Research over the last couple of years has reported that soy and/or soy isoflavones might be beneficial for breast cancer survivors by reducing the risk for breast cancer recurrence .  Research presented earlier this week at the American Association for Cancer Research 9th Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research suggests that consuming soy isoflavones might also reduce breast cancer risk.

In this new breast cancer research study , investigators from the University of Buffalo collected data from 683 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer and 611 women without a history of breast cancer.  Dietary data, including amount of soy isoflavones consumed, were collected with a self-administered questionnaire, while clinical data from breast cancer patients were extracted from their medical records.  Relationships between levels of soy isoflavone consumption and breast tumor characteristics were analyzed for the overall group and based upon menopausal status.  The results of this study showed
Overall Study Population:
  • Breast cancer patients consuming the highest level of total isoflavones had a 30% reduced risk of having invasive breast cancer.
  • The chances of developing a grade 1 breast cancer tumor was reduced by about 60% in breast cancer patients consuming the highest amount of soy isoflavones compared to patients consuming the lowest level of soy isoflavones.
  • The highest levels of genistein (a specific soy isoflavone) consumption were linked to a 60% decreased risk for developing a grade 1 breast cancer tumor.
  • Dietary consumption of the soy isoflavone glycitein was linked to a 25% decreased risk of developing breast cancer, a 60% decreased chance of developing a grade 1 tumor, and a 30% decreased chance of having HER2-negative breast cancer.
  • Isoflavone consumption was not linked to breast cancer tumor characteristics known to be associated with poor outcomes.
Postmenopausal Women:
  • Postmenopausal breast cancer patients in the group with the highest level of glycitein consumption had about a 30% reduced risk for developing luminal A or stage I breast cancer compared to patients consuming the least amount of glycitein.
Premenopausal Women:
  • Higher levels of isoflavone consumption (total isoflavones or any of the specific isoflavones individually) were linked to a 70% reduced risk for developing large breast cancer tumors (greater than 2 cm).
  • The odds of developing stage II breast cancer were reduced by about 60% in premenopausal women consuming the highest amount of soy isoflavones compared to women consuming the lowest amount.
This is a very interesting breast cancer research study that suggests consuming soy or soy isoflavones might not only reduce breast cancer risk, but might also be associated with more favorable breast cancer characteristics in women who develop breast cancer.  The potential benefits of dietary soy consumption for breast cancer has often been debated; however, research over the last few years continues to suggest that adding soy to one's diet might reduce the risk of developing breast cancer and the risk for breast cancer recurrence.  The amount of soy being consumed in this study is not reported in the study summary; however, at least one news report quotes the breast cancer researchers as stating the overall soy consumption was low.  Larger studies examining the impact of a wider range of soy consumption are likely going to be needed to more definitively characterize the potential benefits of soy consumption on breast cancer risk.

To learn about other diet and lifestyle choices to reduce your breast cancer risk, read my FREE book FIGHT NOW: EAT & LIVE PROACTIVELY AGAINST BREAST CANCER . Please recommend to anyone interested in breast cancer, breast cancer treatment, and breast cancer symptoms.
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