Soy may lengthen life for breast cancer patients

New research linked a higher intake of isoflavone, a component of soy, to a reduced rate of mortality in breast cancer patients.

Isoflavone is a part of soy that has “estrogen-like properties,” according to the study. It has been unclear whether isoflavones should be encouraged or not for breast cancer patients because of conflicting research. Some studies have shown that isoflavones slow the growth of breast cancer cells while other studies show they reduce the effectiveness of hormone therapies.

A new study, published March 6 in the journal CANCER, aimed to continue research on the effect of isoflavone on breast cancer patients.

Researchers studied 6,235 American and Canadian women diagnosed with breast cancer to determine any relationship between intake of isoflavones and rate of death. After nine years, researchers saw that women who ate more isoflavone had a 21 percent lower risk of dying compared to women who ate lower amounts. The study relied on a dietary survey.

“For women with hormone receptor-negative breast cancer, soy food products may potentially have a protective effect,” said study author Dr. Zhang.

More research is needed to fully conclude the relationship between soy and its impact on breast cancer patients.

Funding was provided by the U.S. National Cancer Institute.