Breast cancer

03 April 2012

Soy may pose risks to breast cancer patients

Eating soy could pose risks to some women who begin consuming it as adults by making breast cancer tumours resistant to treatment, US researchers said.

0

Eating soy could pose risks to some women who begin consuming it as adults by making breast cancer tumours resistant to treatment, US researchers said.

A study on lab rats showed that those who were fed a soy compound all their lives responded well to a popular breast cancer drug, tamoxifen, but those who began eating it as adults, and after they developed breast cancer, grew resistant.

The research suggests a possible reason why tamoxifen stops working and allows tumours to grow again in some women, said scientists from Georgetown University who presented their findings at a medical conference in Chicago.

"These results suggest that Western women who started soy intake as adults, should stop if diagnosed with breast cancer," said senior author Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, professor of oncology at Georgetown.

Soy renders tamoxifen impotent

Soy contains isoflavones that mimic the oestrogen produced in the body, only at lower levels, and is considered a healthy protein source found in foods like tofu, miso, soy beans and soy milk.

Its potential benefits against breast cancer are often linked to the lower rates of hormone receptor positive types of breast cancer seen in Asian women who live in parts of the world where soy consumption is common.

Since tamoxifen is typically given to breast cancer patients with oestrogen receptor and/or progesterone receptor positive types of tumours, the finding suggests that late-life adoption of a soy diet may have rendered the drug impotent.

The study was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting.

(Sapa, April 2012) 

Read more:

Breast cancer

Soy and Health

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Breast cancer expert

Dr Gudgeon qualified in Birmingham, England, in 1968. She has more than 40 years experience in oncology, and in 1994 she founded her practice, Cape Breast Care, where she treats benign and malignant breast cancers. Dr Boeddinghaus obtained her qualification at UCT Medical School in 1994 and her MRCP in London in 1998. She has worked extensively in the field of oncology and has a special interest in the hormonal management of breast cancer. She now works with Dr Gudgeon at Cape Breast Care. Read more.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules