Isoflavone and Soyfood Intake and Colorectal Cancer Risk: A Case-Control Study in Korea

PLoS One. 2015 Nov 17;10(11):e0143228. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143228. eCollection 2015.


We aimed to assess the relationship between dietary soyfood and isoflavone intake and colorectal cancer risk in a case-control study. A total of 901 colorectal cancer cases and 2669 controls were recruited at the National Cancer Center, Korea. A semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire was used to assess the usual dietary habits, and the isoflavone intake level was estimated from five soyfood items. A high intake of total soy products, legumes, and sprouts was associated with a reduced risk for colorectal cancer in men and women, although the middle quartiles of intake of total soy products were associated with an elevated risk. In contrast, a high intake of fermented soy paste was associated with an elevated risk for colorectal cancer in men. The groups with the highest intake quartiles of isoflavones showed a decreased risk for colorectal cancer compared to their counterparts with the lowest intake quartiles in men (odds ratio (OR): 0.67, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.51-0.89) and women (OR: 0.65, 95% CI: 0.43-0.99). The reduced risk for the highest intake groups persisted for distal colon cancer in men and rectal cancer in women. The association between soyfood intake and colorectal cancer risk was more prominent among post-menopausal women than pre-menopausal women. In conclusion, a high intake of total soy products or dietary isoflavones was associated with a reduced risk for overall colorectal cancer, and the association may be more relevant to distal colon or rectal cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Soy Foods*


  • Isoflavones

Grant support

The research relating to this abstract was funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea (2010-0010276, 2013R1A1A2A10008260) and the National Cancer Center, Korea (0910220, 1210141).