Soy-based drug may stop prostate cancer spread

Non-toxic drug made from chemical in soy could prevent movement of cancer cells from prostate to rest of body.

Washington: Researchers have found that a new, non-toxic drug made from a chemical in soy could prevent the movement of cancer cells from the prostate to the rest of the body.

Northwestern Medicine researchers used genistein-a natural chemical found in soy-to inhibit prostate cancer cells from becoming metastatic and spreading to other parts of the body.

A recent phase II randomised study of 38 men with localized prostate cancer found that genistein, when given once a day as a pill, one month prior to surgery, had beneficial effects on prostate cancer cells.

Researchers examined the cancer cells from the subjects`` prostates after surgery and found that genistein increased the expression of genes that suppress the invasion of cancer cells and decreased the expression of genes that enhance invasion.

"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,``" said Raymond Bergan of the Northwestern University.

The next step is to conduct another phase II study to see if the drug can stop the cancer cells from moving out of the prostate and into the rest of the body, Bergan said.

If confirmed, this could be the first therapy for any cancer that is non-toxic and targets and inhibits cancer cell movement, said Bergan.

These findings will be presented at the Ninth Annual American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference.