Asian-American women who consumed large amounts of soy as children have a 58% reduced risk of breast cancer, according to a study conducted at National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Genetics Branch.
Larissa Korde, MD, and colleagues interviewed 597 women with breast cancer and 966 health women of Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino descent living in San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, or Hawaii (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev online, March 24, 2009).
The researchers found that high intake of soy in childhood was associated with a 58% reduction in breast cancer. A high intake during adolescent and adult years was associated with a 20 % to 25% reduction. “Since the effects of childhood soy intake could not be explained by measures other than Asian lifestyle during childhood or adult life, early soy intake might itself be protective,” Dr. Korde said.
Commenting on the research, Regina Ziegler, PhD, said it would be premature to recommend changes in childhood diet. Dr. Ziegler is a senior investigator in the NCI Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.