Soy Lowers Recurrence Rate in Some Types of Breast Cancer

Postmenopausal women with hormone receptor positive tumors, endocrine adjuvant Rx may benefit
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Although concerns have been raised in recent years about the potential adverse effect of soy consumption on estrogen- and progesterone-receptor positive breast cancers, new research has shown a lower risk for recurrence of these cancers for women who consume high amounts of soy isoflavones; the study has been published online Oct. 18 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Xinmei Kang, M.D., of the Cancer Hospital of Harbin Medical University in China, and colleagues looked for an association between consumption of soy isoflavones and mortality in 524 breast cancer patients undergoing surgery between August 2002 and July 2003. The patients were followed up a median of 5.1 years to determine the clinical safety of soy isoflavones for breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant endocrine therapy with tamoxifen or anastrozole.

The researchers found no association between soy intake and mortality in the 30.6 percent of premenopausal women who died. For postmenopausal women with estrogen- and progesterone-receptor positive breast cancer, the risk of recurrence was significantly lower in those who consumed a lot of soy isoflavones. For those in the highest quartile for soy isoflavone consumption, the recurrence rate was 12.9 percent lower in those with estrogen- and progesterone-positive breast cancer, and 18.7 percent lower for those receiving anastrozole therapy.

"High dietary intake of soy isoflavones was associated with lower risk of recurrence among postmenopausal patients with breast cancer positive for estrogen and progesterone receptor and those who were receiving anastrozole as endocrine therapy," the authors write.

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