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Diet rich in soy protein lowers estrogens associated with breast cancer

searchers to calculate intake of total isoflavones among individual subjects. Isoflavones, the main constituent of soybeans, are believed to be responsible for anti-cancer effects observed in an accumulating number of human and animal studies.

"However, the effect of soy on the breast is controversial," said Dr. Wu. "There are some in vitro studies of breast cancer cells animal studies, as well as short-term soy intervention studies in women suggesting that soy isoflavines may have stimulatory effects." Added Dr. Mimi Yu, principal investigator of the Singapore Chinese Heaslth Study and a professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at USC: "Though our study is suggestive, more work needs to be done before any specific dietary recommendations can be made about consuming soy proteins to protect against breast cancer."

Blood sample analyses not only showed lower estrone levels among those consuming the highest quantities of soy protein, they also showed similar patterns when correlated to consumption of isoflavonoids. However, estrone levels did not decline in a linear manner with increasing soy intake; an apparent reduction was only seen among those in the top 25 percent of soy protein consumers.

The study also showed that hormone levels remained unaffected by other dietary and lifestyle choices. These included consumption of alcohol, coffee, tea, fat, fiber and various micronutrients, including vitamins A, C and E, along with calcium and carotenoids. Physical activity also did not significantly influence serum hormone levels. Among the study's other findings was an association between increased estrogen levels and women with a high body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight that accounts for height.

"There is a suggestion that weight change (particularly weight increase) has a profound influence on breast cancer rates in Asian-American women," said Hin-Peng Lee, co-principal investigator in the Singapor
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Contact: Warren Froelich
froelich@aacr.org
215-440-9300
American Association for Cancer Research
23-Sep-2002


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