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Effect of dietary soy intake on breast cancer risk according to menopause and hormone receptor status



Although high soy consumption may be associated with lower breast cancer risk in Asian populations, findings from epidemiological studies have been inconsistent.


We investigated the effects of soy intake on breast cancer risk among Korean women according to their menopausal and hormone receptor status.


We conducted a case–control study with 358 incident breast cancer patients and 360 age-matched controls with no history of malignant neoplasm. Dietary consumption of soy products was examined using a 103-item food frequency questionnaire.


The estimated mean intakes of total soy and isoflavones from this study population were 76.5 g per day and 15.0 mg per day, respectively. Using a multivariate logistic regression model, we found a significant inverse association between soy intake and breast cancer risk, with a dose–response relationship (odds ratios (OR) (95% confidence interval (CI)) for the highest vs the lowest intake quartile: 0.36 (0.20–0.64)). When the data were stratified by menopausal status, the protective effect was observed only among postmenopausal women (OR (95% CI) for the highest vs the lowest intake quartile: 0.08 (0.03–0.22)). The association between soy and breast cancer risk did not differ according to estrogen receptor (ER)/progesterone receptor (PR) status, but the estimated intake of soy isoflavones showed an inverse association only among postmenopausal women with ER+/PR+ tumors.


Our findings suggest that high consumption of soy might be related to lower risk of breast cancer and that the effect of soy intake could vary depending on several factors.

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This study was funded by the Korean Science and Engineering Foundation (R01-2007-000-11293-0).

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Correspondence to J Kim.

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Cho, Y., Kim, J., Park, KS. et al. Effect of dietary soy intake on breast cancer risk according to menopause and hormone receptor status. Eur J Clin Nutr 64, 924–932 (2010).

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  • soy
  • isoflavone
  • menopause
  • hormone receptor
  • breast cancer
  • Korea

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