J Cell Biochem 1995; 22S: 181–187
Barnes S, Peterson TG, Coward L
Department of Pharmacology,
University of Alabama at Birmingham 35294, USA
Pharmacologists have realized that tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) have potential as anti-cancer agents, both in prevention and therapy protocols. Nonetheless, concern about the risk of toxicity caused by synthetic TKIs restricted their development as chemoprevention agents. However, a naturally occurring TKI (the isoflavone genistein) in soy was discovered in 1987. The concentration of genistein in most soy food materials ranges from 1-2 mg/g. Oriental populations, who have low rates of breast and prostate cancer, consume 20-80 mg of genistein/day, almost entirely derived from soy, whereas the dietary intake of genistein in the US is only 1-3 mg/day. Chronic use of genistein as a chemopreventive agent has an advantage over synthetic TKIs because it is naturally found in soy foods. It could be delivered either in a purified state as a pill (to high-risk, motivated patient groups), or in the form of soy foods or soy-containing foods. Delivery of genistein in soy foods is more economically viable ($1.50 for a daily dose of 50 mg) than purified material ($5/day) and would require no prior approval by the FDA. Accordingly, investigators at several different sites have begun or are planning chemoprevention trials using a soy beverage product based on SUPRO, an isolated soy protein manufactured by Protein Technologies International of St. Louis, MO. These investigators are examining the effect of the soy beverage on surrogate intermediate endpoint biomarkers (SIEBs) in patients at risk for breast and colon cancer, defining potential SIEBs in patients at risk for prostate cancer, and determining whether the soy beverage reduces the incidence of cancer recurrence.