Soy May Help Improve Bone Cancer Treatment


Using a 3D model, investigators found a soy-based compound was effective in treating bone cancer.

Soy may help improve bone cancer treatment, according to a new study published in Acta Biomaterialia.

Osteosarcoma is a rare form of bone cancer that most often occurs in children and young adults and is the second leading cause of cancer death in children. Despite medical advances, those living with osteosarcoma and metastatic bone cancer have a high rate of recurrence.

Treatment for the disease involves a surgery to remove the tumor as well as pre- and postoperative chemotherapy. During surgery, large areas of bone need to be removed and repaired, causing patients to often experience significant amounts of inflammation during reconstruction.

Investigators at Washington State University (WSU) constructed a 3D-printed bone-like scaffold to determine whether soy-based chemical compounds could be used to shrink cancer tumors. The compounds were slowly released into samples containing bone cancer as well as healthy bone cells. Isoflavones, a plant-derived estrogen found in soybeans, have been found to impede cancer cell growth for many types of cancer without being toxic to normal cells.

One compound caused a 90% reduction in bone cancer cell viability in the samples after 11 days, whereas 2 other compounds improved the growth of healthy bone cells. The soy compounds also reduced inflammation, which could help improve overall recovery, according to the study.

"These results advance our understanding in providing therapeutic approaches in using synthetic bone grafts as a drug delivery vehicle," Susmita Bose, PhD, professor in WSU's School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, said in a press release.

More research is needed, especially long-term studies using animal and other malignant cells, according to the study authors. Investigators hope to continue researching the benefits of integrating natural compounds in biomedical technology.


Researchers use soy to improve bone cancer treatment [News Release] September 15; 2020. Pullman, Washington. Accessed September 23, 2020.

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