Click here to view the scientific abstract in
Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 20--Researchers at
the Arkansas Children's
Nutrition Center have found that whey and soy protein may help prevent
breast cancer. This research, funded by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, is featured in this months Cancer, Epidemiology,
Biomarkers and Prevention, an official journal of the
American Association for Cancer
This significant new research, although preliminary, suggests that
adding whey or soy protein to the diet may help protect women and children from
developing breast cancer, said Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman.
These findings underscore the importance of research as the critical link
between nutrition and health.
In laboratory studies, researchers compared the protective effects of soy
protein and whey protein against chemically induced tumors in the milk
producing glands of rats. They found that approximately 50 percent fewer rats
had mammary tumors when fed a diet containing a processed whey protein as
compared with rats eating a standard diet.
Whey protein is a class of minor proteins found in milk. Soy protein
prevented approximately 25 percent of mammary cancer. According to ACNC
Badger, who heads the USDA-funded project, 180,000 new breast cancer cases
are diagnosed each year in women living in the United States.
Rats were fed one of three diets, each with a different protein: a control
diet containing the major milk protein casein, a diet made with soy protein
isolate, or a diet with processed whey protein.
All rats in the control group developed at least one tumor; 77 percent of
the soy-fed rats had at least one tumor; and about 54 percent of the whey- fed
rats had at least one tumor. Among the rats that ate the whey diet, those that
developed mammary cancer had fewer and smaller tumors than control rats.
These data indicate that feeding rats diets made with whey protein can
prevent mammary tumor formation in the major animal model of human breast
cancer and illustrate the importance of dietary factors in disease
prevention, said Badger, who has filed for a patent on the whey compound.
Scientific contact: Thomas
Children's Nutrition Center, Little Rock, Ark., phone (501) 320-2785, fax
(501) 320-2818, BadgerThomasM@exchange.uams.edu.