For many decades, Soy and soy products whether in the form of food such as Soybeans, Soy milk, Tofu or Miso or supplements, were all accused of being harmful to women health especially when it comes to cancer. This article discusses the Breast Cancer and Soy Products and whether its use in Breast Cancer is a good idea or no,
Recent research on Soy whether Soy food or supplements showed completely different findings regarding its relationship to cancer prevention or treatment. The findings were all positive,
In this article, I will discuss extensive and relatively recent research published in 2015 in the International Journal of molecular sciences by Varinska et al https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4463727/pdf/ijms-16-11728.pdf
In summary, this research highlighted the effects of Soy on inhibition of cancer cell growth and spread through inhibition of process names (Angiogenesis). This process (Angiogenesis) is simply the creation of new blood vessels by the cancer cells to help to supply the cancer cells with nutrients essential for its growth and survival. Normally, the body doesn’t recognise cancer cells as being friendly, so cancer cells don’t have a regular blood supply like normal body organs, so it starts creating these new blood vessels to have enough nutrition to be able to survive and grow.
One of the essential ways many cancer chemotherapies or targeted agents work against cancer cells is to stop the angiogenesis. Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VGEF) is a protein that initiates and maintains the angiogenesis process of cancer cells. An example of a very commonly used VEGF blockers is Bevacizumab (Avastin) which is extensively used in treating colorectal cancer. Other agents used for cancer treatment are called Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs) such as Sorafenib, Sunitinib, and Axitinib, are actively used for treating Renal cell carcinoma and advanced cases of Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
Extensive laboratory research found that Soy products have a natural compound called Genistein which is actually a strong anti- VGEF agent so, it is very similar in the effect of many targeted agents and Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors. This compound, Genistein works against VGEF by many mechanisms such as inhibition of basal VEGF expression and hypoxia-stimulated VEGF expression in cancer cells. This anti-VGEF property of Soy is achieved only with high Soy concentrations in the blood( 10-50 uM).
The advantage of administering Soy products or supplements are many. In addition to having an anti-cancer effect through inhibition of the VGEF, Soy products are considered foods at the end and they should have a very extensive safety margin with no known toxicities. The major problem with Soybeans or Soy products actually is the allergy that some people develop with Soy products, and it can vary in clinical presentation from mild skin rash and itchiness to nausea and vomiting. The best course of action for people, who have an allergy to Soy products is actually to avoid them and use different agents. The research included many cancer cells from a breast cancer tumours and as mentioned all the results were very positive.
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