Soy consumption and histopathologic markers in breast tissue using tissue microarrays

Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(5):708-16. doi: 10.1080/01635580902913047.


This study examined the relation of soy intake with hormonal and proliferation markers in benign and malignant breast tissue using tissue microarrays (TMAs). TMAs with up to 4 malignant and 4 benign tissue samples for 268 breast cancer cases were constructed. Soy intake in early life and in adulthood was assessed by questionnaire. The TMAs were stained for estrogen receptor (ER) alpha, ERbeta, progesterone receptor (PR), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2/neu), proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), and Ki-67 using standard immunohistochemical methods. Logistic regression was applied for statistical analysis. A higher percentage of women showed positive marker expression in malignant than in benign tissue. With one exception, HER2/neu, no significant associations between soy intake and pathologic markers were observed. Early life soy intake was associated with lower HER2/neu and PCNA staining of malignant tissue. In benign tissue, early life soy intake showed higher ER and PR expression, but no difference in proliferation markers. The results of this investigation provide some assurance that soy intake does not adversely affect markers of proliferation. TMAs were shown to be a useful tool for epidemiologic research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Breast / chemistry*
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Diet Surveys
  • ErbB Receptors / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ki-67 Antigen / analysis
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen / analysis
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis
  • Receptors, Progesterone / analysis
  • Soy Foods* / adverse effects
  • Soy Foods* / statistics & numerical data
  • Tissue Array Analysis / methods*


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • ErbB Receptors