Soy "could cut breast cancer"
Breast cancer could be reduced by eating more soy-rich foods, according to Northern Ireland researchers.
The University of Ulster study investigated the effects of a group of dietary compounds - found almost exclusively in soy foods - in the prevention of cancer spread.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting women in the western world.
About 950 women in Northern Ireland suffer from the disease every year.
Dr. Pamela Magee, from the UU's School of Biomedical Sciences, said among south-east Asian populations - and in areas where soy products were traditionally consumed in high amounts - incidence of breast cancer was low.
"Soy contains naturally occurring hormone-like compounds called isoflavones that scientists believe can inhibit breast cancer development," she said.
"In our study we used cell cultures to examine the effects of isoflavones on the invasion of breast cancer cells.
"The isoflavones exerted potent inhibitory effects on breast cancer cell invasion, even at concentrations similar to those found in south east-Asian populations."
The findings seemed to indicate eating products such as soy milk, soy drinks and desserts could have an important role in preventing the spread of cancer cells in the body, said Dr. Magee.
Further studies in human volunteers were now needed to confirm whether soy isoflavones would protect against breast cancer spread in patients, she said.
"Although recent advances have been made in tumor detection and treatment, the spread of cancer remains a significant cause of mortality.
"The invasion of cancerous cells from their site of origin into the neighbouring environment enables cancerous cells to travel and grow at new sites within the body.
"Any agent, therefore, which can prevent the invasive process could become a powerful tool in the prevention of cancer spread."
Source: BBC News