Chemoprevention of DMBA-induced mammary cancer in rats by dietary soy

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2001 Sep;69(2):153-64. doi: 10.1023/a:1012414119944.


This study was designed to assess the potential chemopreventive effect of the administration of a standardized soy extract, SOYSELECT, on 7,12-Dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced mammary tumors in rats. Three groups, 24 females each, were used. Animals were fed either a phytoestrogen-free diet alone (control) or the same diet supplemented with 0.35% or 0.7% of soy extract. Treatment started at weaning and continued to the end of the study (24 weeks after DMBA administration). At day 50 of age all animals received via oral gavage 80 mg/kg DMBA. Only tumors subsequently classified as adenocarcinomas were considered for data evaluation. In rats on the soy diet, mammary tumors took a longer period of time to develop as compared to control rats. However, at the end of the study, no relevant difference in tumor incidence and multiplicity was observed among the groups. The most significant changes were seen between control and soy-treated groups when tumor dimension and results from histopathologic examination were considered. The latter, in fact, showed a dose-dependent reduction in the percentage of poorly differentiated tumors in treated animals. This change was statistically significant in animals receiving 0.7% soy. In addition, assessment of estrogen and progesterone receptor (ERalpha, PR) levels, revealed a significant reduction in the percentage of ERalpha and PR positive tumors in animals receiving 0.7% dietary soy, when compared to controls. Interestingly, genistein and daidzein plasma levels determined at the end of the study were within the range of those detected in people consuming large amounts of soyfoods.

MeSH terms

  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene / adverse effects
  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / prevention & control*
  • Adenocarcinoma / veterinary
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Carcinogens / adverse effects
  • Chemoprevention*
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / etiology
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / prevention & control*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis
  • Receptors, Progesterone / analysis
  • Soybean Proteins / pharmacology*


  • Carcinogens
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Soybean Proteins
  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene