Journal Article

Lack of stimulatory activity of a Phytoestrogen-containing soy extract on the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice

Daniela Gallo, Cristiano Ferlini, Manuela Fabrizi, Silvia Prislei and Giovanni Scambia

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 27, issue 7, pages 1404-1409
Published in print July 2006 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Lack of stimulatory activity of a Phytoestrogen-containing soy extract on the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice

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The present study was designed to investigate the effects of a phytoestrogens-containing soy extract (SOYSELECT®, SSE) on the growth of estrogen-dependent (MCF-7) and estrogen-unresponsive (MDA-MB-231) human breast cancer xenografts in athymic mice. Results obtained provided evidence that MCF-7 tumors did not grow over the treatment period (5 weeks) in ovariectomized females receiving 50 or 100 mg/kg/day SSE (oral route); administration of SSE also did not affect the estradiol-sustained growth of MCF-7 tumors in mice. Similarly, no effects on tumor growth were observed in SSE-treated mice bearing MDA-MB-231 xenografts. Data from pS2, progesterone receptor and cyclin D1 mRNA expression in tumors showed that, although SSE was able to induce a moderate estrogenic effect in MCF-7 cells, it did not increase cellular proliferation and tumor growth, in our experimental conditions. Besides, when used in association with 17β-estradiol, it displayed antiestrogenic activity. The expression of other genes involved in tumor progression and angiogenesis, such as Thrombospondin 1, Trasforming Growth Factor β2 and Kallikrein 6 was also evaluated in tumor samples, results showing a decrease in mRNA expression upon SSE treatment. The effect of SSE on angiogenesis in vivo was also evaluated in the Matrigel plug assay; results obtained showed a striking anti-angiogenic activity in mice receiving 100 mg/kg/day SSE, thereby confirming that this extract may interfere with angiogenesis. Collectively, these experimental data suggest that SSE could be not harmful for women with a history of or at high risk for breast cancer, at least for short treatment periods; however, further studies are needed to thoroughly characterize the activity profile of the extract in this specific setting of patients.

Keywords: KLK6, Kallikrein 6; PR, progesterone receptor; TSP, Thrombospondin 1; TGFβ2, Trasforming Growth Factor β2

Journal Article.  5375 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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