A compound found in soyabeans seems to prevent spread of human prostate cancer, according to the latest research.
Researchers say that the quantity of the chemical, an antioxidant known as genistein, used in the experiments was what a human would normally eat in a soyabean-rich diet.
Investigators from Northwestern University found that Genistein was found to decrease metastasis of prostate cancer to the lungs by 96 percent, compared with mice that did not eat the compound in their chow, Science Daily reported.
“These impressive results give us hope that genistein might show some effect in preventing the spread of prostate cancer in patients,” said the study’s senior investigator, Raymond C. Bergan of the Northwestern University.
“Certain chemicals have beneficial effects and now we have all the pre-clinical studies we need to suggest genistein might be a very promising chemo-preventive drug,” said Bergan.
Bergan and his team have previously demonstrated in prostate cancer cell cultures that genistein inhibits detachment of cancer cells from a primary prostate tumor and represses cell invasion.
It does this by blocking activation of p38 MAP kinases, molecules which regulate pathways that activate proteins that loosen cancer cells from their tight hold within a tumour, pushing them to migrate.
Investigators fed genistein to several groups of mice before implanting them with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. The amount of genistein in the blood of the animals was comparable to human blood concentrations after consumption of soy foods, Bergan said.
The researchers found that while genistein didn’t reduce the size of tumours that developed within the prostate, it stopped lung metastasis almost completely. They repeated the experiment and found the same result.
These findings have been published in March issue of Cancer Research .