Animal study: Soy peptide may reduce colon cancer metastasis

peptidio sogias metastash karkinou kolon

“In this new study, we find that giving lunasin orally at 20 mg/kg of body weight reduced the number of metastatic tumors by 94%—we went from 18 tumors to only one.


And that was done using lunasin alone; no other type of therapy was used,” said Elvira de Mejia, a U of I Professor of Food Chemistry and Food Toxicology.After a recent University of Illinois study showed that injection of the soy peptide lunasin dramatically reduced colon cancer metastasis in mice, the researchers were eager to see how making lunasin part of the animals’ daily diet would affect the spread of the disease.

In the first study, injections of lunasin were used in concert with the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin, yielding impressive results: a sixfold reduction in metastatic tumors to the liver.

“We learned in that study that lunasin can penetrate the cancer cell, cause cell death, and interact with at least one type of receptor in a cell that is ready to metastasize,” said Vermont Dia, a postdoctoral associate in the de Mejia laboratory.

That led the scientists to do this study in which they experimented with oral doses of the peptide. Using mice that had been injected with human colon cancer cells, the scientists began by feeding the animals 8 mg/kg of lunasin daily, which reduced the number of new tumors in the liver by 55%. They increased the dose five times, at last achieving a 94% reduction in tumors at 20 mg/kg of lunasin. The study was published in the Journal of Cancer Therapy.

The scientists said that consuming the equivalent of 20 to 30 mg/kg of lunasin in soy foods would be daunting in terms of number of servings per day. “But it would certainly be possible if food companies began to offer lunasin-enriched soy milk or yogurt,” said de Mejia, noting that lunasin-enriched flour is already on the market.

Human studies are needed to validate the pre-clinical studies, de Mejia added.


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