Soy food and isoflavone intake and endometrial cancer risk: the Japan Public Health Center-based prospective study

BJOG. 2015 Feb;122(3):304-11. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.12853. Epub 2014 Jun 18.


Objective: Compared with western populations, the consumption of soy foods among Japanese is very high and the incidence of endometrial cancer very low. We evaluated the association of soy food and isoflavone intake with endometrial cancer risk in Japanese women.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: Ten public health centre areas in Japan.

Population: Forty nine thousand one hundred and twenty-one women of age 45-74 years who responded to a 5-year follow-up survey questionnaire.

Methods: Intakes of soy foods as well as other covariates were assessed in 1995-1998 by a self-administered food frequency questionnaire. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Main outcome measure: Incidence of endometrial cancer.

Results: During an average of 12.1 years of follow up, 112 newly diagnosed endometrial cancer cases were identified. Energy-adjusted intakes of soy food and isoflavone were not associated with the risk of endometrial cancer. The multivariate-adjusted HR per 25 g/day increase in the intake of soy food was 1.02 (95% CI 0.94-1.10), and the corresponding value for isoflavone intake per 15 mg/day was 1.01 (95% CI 0.84-1.22).

Conclusion: In this population-based prospective cohort study of Japanese women, we observed no evidence of a protective association between soy food or isoflavone intake and endometrial cancer risk.

Keywords: Endometrial cancer risk; epidemiology; isoflavone; prospective study; soy food.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet Surveys
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / etiology
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glycine max*
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones* / adverse effects
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytoestrogens* / adverse effects
  • Population Surveillance
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Public Health
  • Risk Factors
  • Soy Foods* / adverse effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Isoflavones
  • Phytoestrogens