Soy substances slow prostate cancer growth in animals

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Substances present in dietary soy products may slow the growth of prostate cancer, a new animal study has shown. But cancer researchers warn against rushing to use them as diet supplements.

The finding suggests that substances known as soy isoflavones are probably responsible for the anti-cancer effect.

"The study strongly supports the need for clinical trials to assess the potential role of soy in reducing the incidence and progression of human prostate cancer," said Steven Clinton, associate professor of internal medicine at Ohio State University.

However, Clinton cautions against taking soy phytochemicals or dietary supplements enriched with soy isoflavones at this time.

"Soy phytochemicals are potent compounds. Plants use them to regulate genes during growth and development and as poisons to ward off predators," said Clinton, who is also director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Ohio States Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. "Some of these chemicals may even enhance or promote the growth of some other types of tumors.

"Our results do suggest that including soy-based foods in the diet is reasonable for a number of health benefits. For example, consumption of soy protein has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels," he said.


Contact: Steven Clinton
Ohio State University

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