Many women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer are often told to avoid soy-based foods or supplements because soy may interference with anti-estrogen treatment. New research being presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting this year is hoping to impact this advice. Animal research is showing that a long history of eating soy foods boosts the immune systems response against tumors in the breast, therefore reducing cancer recurrence. (1,2)
New research shows that soy-based foods may boost immune system and help the body fight off breast cancer recurrence!
“I am concerned that some patients may start taking soy supplements when they shouldn’t and that others will stop eating soy foods when they could really benefit from them,” says the study’s lead researcher, Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, PhD, professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi. (1,2)
Research from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center challenges the notion that soy can stimulate breast cancer growth and disrupt anti-estrogen treatment. The team reports that this recommendation came from research studies in mice that do not have the cytotoxic T immune cells that are known to attack breast cancer. (1,2)
In a prior study, Hilakivi-Clarke and her student Xiyuan Zhang confirmed that rats consuming genistein throughout their lifetimes responded better to anti-estrogen treatment than control rats. They also confirmed that these rats had a lower risk for cancer recurrence. Genistein is found in soybeans, fava beans, and soymilk. (3)
One cup of soymilk per day activates anti-tumor immune responses!
In a new study, researchers investigated their previous findings and determined that these results could be explained due to changes in tumor immune responses. (1,2)
“Our results suggest that genistein’s ability to activate anti-tumor immune responses and reduce expression of immunosuppressive mechanisms may explain why lifetime genistein intake reduces risk of breast cancer recurrence,” Hilakivi-Clarke says. (1,2)
“But it is critical that genistein is consumed well before a tumor develops to program the tumor to exhibit good immune responses,” Zhang adds. (1,2)
The findings in this study mirrored observational studies reporting that women who consumed more than 10 mg isoflavones daily were at reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence compared with women who consumed less than 4 mg isoflavones daily. “One cup of soymilk has about 30 mg isoflavones, the majority of which is genistein,” Hilakivi-Clarke says. (1,2)
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Lynn is a licensed therapist who enjoys cooking, creativity and enjoys helping other’s learn how to care for their minds and bodies through healthy eating. In the past four years, Lynn has altered her lifestyle and is committed to empowering other’s to have improved self care, mental health, and stress management. Each article and recipe submitted is with the intent to help each person move forward in their journey.
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