Soy Foods Linked to Improved Outcomes in Breast Cancer

Eating more soy may reduce mortality, cancer recurrence in female breast cancer survivors

TUESDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Among female breast cancer survivors, eating soy foods is associated with a lower risk of death and breast cancer recurrence, according to research published in the Dec. 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Xiao Ou Shu, M.D., of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues analyzed data from 5,033 Chinese women aged 20 to 75 years who had been surgically treated for breast cancer. Women periodically provided information on their dietary patterns.

During a median follow-up of 3.9 years, the researchers found that the consumption of soy was associated with a lower risk of mortality and breast cancer recurrence. Compared to the women in the lowest quartile, those in the highest quartile of soy protein consumption had a hazard ratio of 0.71 for total mortality and 0.68 for recurrence. The association between soy and reduced risks showed a dose-response pattern up to 11 daily grams of soy protein.

For now, "clinicians can advise their patients with breast cancer that soy foods are safe to eat and that these foods may offer some protective benefit for long-term health. Moreover, the potential benefits are confined to soy foods, and inferences should not be made about the risks or benefits of soy-containing dietary supplements. Patients with breast cancer can be assured that enjoying a soy latte or indulging in pad thai with tofu causes no harm and, when consumed in plentiful amounts, may reduce risk of disease recurrence," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

Shu reported receiving past research funds from the United Soybean Board.

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