Soy Foods: Towards the Development of Novel Therapeutics for Breast Cancer

  • Rosalia C. M. Simmen
  • Omar M. Rahal
  • Maria Theresa E. Montales
  • John Mark P. Pabona
  • Melissa E. Heard
  • Ahmed Al-Dwairi
  • Adam R. Brown
  • Frank A. Simmen
Part of the Evidence-based Anticancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine book series (ACAM, volume 5)


The increasing cognizance that diet (and lifestyle) can modify breast cancer risk and progression has motivated many breast cancer patients to take increasing personal control of the direction of their therapies after diagnosis and surgery. While this has certain advantages, including higher compliance to prescribed drugs and improvements in emotional and mental well-being, it predicates the need for increased understanding of the benefits of particular diets and dietary regimen to the treatment programs and for improved translation of data obtained from studies with animal models into clinical settings. Epidemiological studies have linked high consumption of soy-rich foods to the lower incidence of breast cancer in Asia relative to that in Western countries. The potential of soy-rich foods as breast cancer protective when dietary exposure occurs early in life, has resulted in driving the use of soy and its associated bioactive components, specifically the isoflavone genistein, as chemopreventive agents or as adjuvants to conventional drug therapies. Bioactive components in soy foods may affect hormone and non-hormone-mediated mechanisms. However, their overall biological outcomes remain not well-understood and at times, contradictory, due to distinct physiological contexts and doses of exposure, multiple targets, and inconsistent measures of relevant endpoints. Here we provide an argument in support of the potential use of soy foods for breast cancer patients based on the review of the current literature as well as raise caveats that must be addressed for its successful application as standard-of-care treatment.


Breast Cancer Breast Cancer Patient Mammary Gland Breast Cancer Risk Mammary Epithelial Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Work from our laboratories described in this chapter was supported in part by grants from the United States Department of Agriculture-CRIS 6251-5100002, the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (CDMRP W81XWH-08-0548), the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences-Translational Research Institute (UL1 RR0298884), and the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (CA136493). The authors apologize to the many authors of excellent publications on this topic that could not be cited due to space limitations.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosalia C. M. Simmen
    • 1
  • Omar M. Rahal
    • 2
  • Maria Theresa E. Montales
    • 3
  • John Mark P. Pabona
    • 3
  • Melissa E. Heard
    • 4
  • Ahmed Al-Dwairi
    • 4
  • Adam R. Brown
    • 5
  • Frank A. Simmen
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Program, Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, The Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer InstituteUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA
  2. 2.Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Program, Arkansas Children’s Nutrition CenterUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA
  3. 3.Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Arkansas Children’s Nutrition CenterUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA
  4. 4.Department of Physiology and BiophysicsUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA
  5. 5.Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences ProgramUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA
  6. 6.Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Program, The Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer InstituteUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA

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