Science Update

A new review demonstrates the role of genistein in integrative cancer care

Researchers are continuously exploring potential agents that can protect normal cells from the devastating effects of cancer therapy. Chemotherapeutic agents and radiation cause oxidative stress and inflammation. Chemotherapy does not target specific cells, and, therefore, it also affects normal healthy cells. This can result in numerous side effects and toxicity.

A new review published in Integrative Cancer Therapies looked at the role of genistein in integrative cancer care. Genistein is the most active and abundant isoflavone found in soy, and has been shown to possess an array of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-angiogenic, and anti-cancer properties. Genistein has been shown to inhibit NF-Kβ activation as well as cell growth and metastasis. Although genistein is typically derived from soy, it can also be sourced from the botanical, sophora japonica.

This review discusses genistein’s ability to alter estrogen-related malignancies, prostate, and colon cancer. Genestein acts by altering angiogenesis, the cell cycle, and apoptosis. It is also synergistic with many anti-cancer drugs, improving their efficacy, and, thus, making it a great adjunct therapy for cancer prevention, control, and treatment.

A randomized, double-blind phase 2 clinical study (referenced in this recent review) demonstrated that genistein at a dose that can be easily obtained from a diet reduced the level of serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) with no adverse effects.

Natural isoflavones found in the diet or in dietary supplements should be considered to mitigate some of the adverse effects from these drugs as well as to increase the efficacy in cancer treatment. The use of genistein in the control and prevention of cancer has been supported by preclinical studies, meta-analyses, and clinical trials.

Additional nutrients to consider for patients undergoing chemotherapy include tocotrienols, vitamin D, curcumin, and fish oil. Chemotherapy often results in increased lipid peroxidation, so antioxidants such as delta and gamma tocotrienols protect the cell membrane from oxidative stress.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Sahin l, Bilir B, et al. Soy Isoflavones in Integrative Oncology: Increased Efficacy and Decreased Toxicity of Cancer Therapy. Integr Cancer Ther. 2019. Jan-Dec; 18: 1534735419835310.