Animal Study: Soy Before Puberty Reduces Breast Cancer Recurrence

How soy plays a role in breast cancer risk and recurrence is one of the most common questions we get asked. A large body of human research suggests eating tofu, soy milk and other soy foods in moderation safe. Now an animal study that may help explain what is seen in human research, shows that eating soy foods when young boosts the immune response against tumors, reducing cancer recurrence.soy_tofu_dreamstime_13994134

The study is being presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting, and is not yet published.

Soy contains compounds called isoflavones that mimic the effect of estrogen. This raised concerns that it would stimulate breast tumors fueled by estrogen and may interfere with anti-estrogen treatment, such as tamoxifen. Early animal studies did find a link between isoflavones increasing risk of breast cancer. According to the news release, one reason may be that this early animal research used animals that do not have certain immune cells called cytotoxic T cells. These are among the cells that act against breast tumors. Continue reading


New grants, new research – thanks

January is an exciting time around the AICR offices. This is when our newly-funded investigators begin work on their projects, and it’s a reminder to us that scientific research provides the basis for all of AICR’s work. Our grant program is extremely competitive and only the most novel and promising projects make it through our rigorous peer-review 2015-research-collage-smallprocess. This year’s funded research grants cover a wide variety of topics but they all focus on how nutrition, physical activity, or obesity is related to cancer, and they are all aimed at preventing cancer and improving survival.

Some of our new investigators work in labs with cell cultures or with animal models, while others work in clinics or on large population studies. You can read about their research in Cancer Research Update.

To learn more about eligibility and criteria for AICR grants, see our Grant Application Package. And if you are a researcher with a great idea for a project, keep an eye out for AICR’s call for applications in the fall. Questions? Contact us at research@aicr.org.

Thank you to AICR’s generous donors for continuing to support these innovative and important projects.

Susan Higginbotham, PhD, RD, is AICR’s Vice President of Research.


Study: Less TV, More Walking May Help Colorectal Cancer Survivors Live Longer

There’s strong research now showing that being active can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, but how physical activity affects survivors of this cancer is not as clear. Now comes a study suggesting that being active — both before and after diagnosis —can lengthen survival for colorectal cancer survivors.dreamstime_17313188

Not watching a lot of television — a common measure for sedentary living — was also found to improve survival. Survivors who were watching fewer than two hours a day of TV before diagnosis had a reduced risk of mortality compared to those watching five or more hours of TV a day.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology last week.

For pre-diagnosis, study authors used data from approximately 3,800 survivors who were part of the large NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study study. In the mid 1990s, the participants were 50 to 71 years old. They answered questionnaires about how much TV they watched, their activity and other lifestyle habits. Those who had developed colorectal cancer were identified in 2006. Continue reading