Tofu's effect on prostate cancer is unclear

  • Tofu compounds are structurally similar to a hormone that worsens the disease
  • Expert argues much more research is needed to determine soy's prostate effects
  • Age, ethnicity and family history are known, but unchangeable, risk factors 
  • Researchers from Indiana University analyzed 27,004 men over 11 years
  • Prostate cancer affects around 11% of men and doesn't always need treating 

By Alexandra Thompson Health Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 05:12 EST, 14 November 2017 | Updated: 12:31 EST, 14 November 2017

Tofu is significantly associated with prostate cancer, a study reveals, however, experts stress 'much more research is needed'.

Plant-derived compounds known as phytoestrogens, which are mainly found in soy products such as tofu and edamame beans, have previously been linked to the condition due to them being structurally similar to a hormone that increases the disease's severity.

Lead author Dr Jianjun Zhang from Indiana University, said: 'Our study offers novel evidence that dietary intake of isoflavones [a type of phytoestrogens] has different effects on advanced and non-advanced prostate cancer.'

Yet, other experts argue much more research is required to determine soy's prostate cancer-effects before it can be reliably linked to the condition. 

Prostate cancer affects around 11 percent of men at some point in their lives. Due to it being slow growing, treatment is not necessarily required if the patient suffers no symptoms. 

Tofu is significantly associated with prostate cancer, but more research into this is required
Tofu is significantly associated with prostate cancer, but more research into this is required

Tofu is significantly associated with prostate cancer, but more research into this is required

EJACULATING AT LEAST 21 TIMES A MONTH SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCES THE RISK OF PROSTATE CANCER 

Ejaculating at least 21 times a month significantly reduces a man's risk of prostate cancer, research revealed in July.

This is compared to those who release just four-to-seven times every four weeks, a Harvard University study found.

The findings are true regardless of whether men achieve orgasm through masturbation or sex, the research adds.

Researchers did not speculate on why ejaculation protects against prostate cancer, however, past findings suggest it helps to rid the gland of cancer-causing substances and infections.

Ejaculation may also help to ease inflammation, which is a known cause of cancer. 

How the research was carried out 

The researchers analyzed 27,004 men taking part in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial.

Over around 11 years, 2,598 of the study's participants developed prostate cancer, of which 287 were advanced cases.

All of the participants completed a food questionnaire over a set period.

'Much more research is needed' 

Results reveal eating phytoestrogens is significantly linked to prostate cancer.

Dr Zhang said: 'Prostate cancer is a major cancer in Western countries, and its incidence rate has been remarkably increasing in Asian countries during the last several decades.

'Age, ethnicity and family history are the only established, but non-modifiable, risk factors for this malignancy.

'Our study offers novel evidence that dietary intake of isoflavones has different effects on advanced and non-advanced prostate cancer.' 

Phytoestrogens have previously been linked to prostate cancer due to them being structurally similar to a steroid hormone that increases the condition's severity. 

The findings were published in the International Journal of Cancer. 

Dr Jiri Kubes, a specialist in prostate cancer at the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, Czech Republic, said: 'Rates of prostate cancer are rising rapidly, so it's essential more research needs to be carried out. At the moment, there are very few established risk factors.'

Yet Prostate Cancer UK director Dr Iain Frame told The Express: 'This study suggests a potential link between foods high in isoflavones such as soyabeans and tofu and increased risk of advanced prostate cancer, however, there is currently not enough concrete evidence to say whether this is actually the case. 

'Much more research is needed to measure the actual intake of isoflavones in people with varied eating habits.' 

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