Soy foods may help fight prostate cancer

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By David Liu, PHD

Friday Sept 7, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in PLoS One suggests that eating soy foods or taking soy protein supplements may help stop or slow the progression of prostate cancer.

The study led by T. Chiyomaru of San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of California San Francisco in San Francisco, California and colleagues tested genistein a soy metabolite in prostate cancer cell lines and found the compound inhibits cell migration and invasion by inhibiting expression of miR-151.

Previous studies have demonstrated genistein suppresses the growth of a number of cancers through various pathways.  The current study was believed to be the first of its kind to show that genistein inhibits oncogenic microRNA-151 or miR-151 and the profession and metastasis of prostate cancer.

The researchers found prostate cancer cells produced higher levels of mR-151 and application of 25 um genistein suppressed the expression of miR-151.  This indicates that mR-151 may be responsible for prostate cance cell growth and genistein has an suppressive effect on the cancer cells.

They further found inhibition of miR-151 in prostate cancer cells by genistein led to significant inhibition of cell migration and invasion.  This is direct evidence from the laboratory study to show that genistein inhibit cell migration and invasion.  If this finding helds true in vivo, this means that genistein can prevent metastasis of prostate cancer.

miR-151 was able as the study found to directly bind to five genes which have been believed to have tumor suppresssive functions.  miR-151 mimics and inhibitors could change the mRNA expression levels of these genes.  It was further found that high expression of miR-151  had an adverse impact on survival.

The researchers concluded "This study suggests that genistein mediated suppression of oncogenic miRNAs can be an important dietary therapeutic strategy for the treatment of PCa (prostate cancer)."

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