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Soy Isoflavones May Block Radiation Damage

January 1, 2014
Written by: , Filed in: Chest Radiology
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Soy isoflavones given before and after radiation therapy for lung cancer might protect against toxic side effects, according to a new study by researchers at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University in Detroit.

The study, published in the November issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, notes that soy isoflavones have been shown to be safe in human clinical trials. “Their experimental studies in animal models suggest that the addition of soy to radiotherapy might improve the effect of radiotherapy on the tumor target and reduce the dose-limiting toxicity of radiotherapy to the normal lung,” the article says.

It continues:

If this proves to be the case, this simple, nontoxic, natural compound would radically improve the effectiveness of this new radiation treatment for inoperable non–small cell lung cancer.

The study involved treating mice with oral soy isoflavones for three days before and up to four months after radiation. The isoflavones protected against inflammation, pneumonitis, fibrosis, increased breathing rate, skin injury, and hair loss.

Soy isoflavones—estrogens extracted from soybeans—also have been shown to be anti-cancer agents and to act as antioxidants in normal tissues.

Mohamed Abazeed, MD, PhD, said the results were encouraging but added, “Further testing of soy isoflavones in more physiological animal tumor models will be necessary before clinical implementation in lung cancer treatment since previous data suggest optimal modeling of the response of tumors to radiation requires an intact immune system.”

Dr. Abazeed is an associate staff physician in the radiation oncology department at the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute in Cleveland. He was quoted in HemOnc Today.

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, publisher of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, said in a news release that Karmanos Cancer Institute researchers were planning a follow-up clinical trial.

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As we begin 2014 (happy new year!), let’s update the status of the big New Jersey MRI kickback case. The latest count is people convicted—one of whom appeared on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. For details, see our Facebook page.

Related CME seminar (up to 26.75 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™): Thoracic Imaging

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