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Genistein in Soy could Stop Prostate Cancer Spread

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

A new drug developed from genistein in soy could help stop prostate cancer from spreading to the rest of the body. The drug that is non-toxic and being used by Raymond Bergan, M.D., the director of experimental therapeutics at the Lurie Cancer Center, has been found to prevent prostate cancer metastasis.

The soy compound has been used successfully in mice. A phase II clinical trial of 38 men with localized prostate cancer has also just been completed. The pill, given once a day and taken one month before prostate cancer surgery was found to decrease gene expression that promotes the spread of prostate cancer.

Genistein First Non-Toxic Drug to Halt Prostate Cancer

According to Dr. Bergan, a professor of hematology and oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, “The first step is to see if the drug has the effect that you want on the cells and the prostate, and the answer is ‘yes, it does."

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The researchers found the benefits of soy for stopping prostate cancer by examining the men's prostate glands after surgery, noting the changes genistein produces in gene expression that promotes prostate cancer metastasis.

“All therapies designed to stop cancer cell movement that have been tested to date in humans have basically failed have because they have been ineffective or toxic,” Bergan said. “If this drug can effectively stop prostate cancer from moving in the body, theoretically, a similar therapy could have the same effect on the cells of other cancers.”

The next step is to confirm the findings in another phase II trial. If genistein prevents prostate cancer from spreading, it will be the first non-toxic drug that keeps cancer cells from moving to other parts of the body. Genistein, derived from soy and given by mouth once a day, was found to change genes that promote prostate cancer spread. The soy based drug worked in pre-clinical animal studies, and showed potential benefit for 38 men randomized in a phase II clinical trial.

Northwestern University