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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010 Jan;19(1):148-58. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-09-0856.

Soy consumption and colorectal cancer risk in humans: a meta-analysis.

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  • 1USDA, ARS, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, ND 58202-9034, USA.


The purpose of the present study was to determine the relationship between soy consumption and colorectal cancer risk in humans by conducting a meta-analysis of available epidemiologic studies. We systematically reviewed publications obtained through a Medline literature search and identified four cohort and seven case-control studies on soy and colorectal cancer risk that met the inclusion criteria. We extracted the risk estimate (hazard ratio, relative risk, or odds ratio) of the highest and the lowest reported categories of intake from each study and conducted this analysis using a random-effects model. Our analysis did not find that soy consumption was associated with colorectal cancer risk [combined risk estimate, 0.90; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.79-1.03] nor did the separate analyses on colon cancer (combined risk estimate, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.74-1.06) and rectal cancer (combined risk estimate, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.67-1.14). However, when separately analyzed on the basis of gender, we found that soy was associated with an approximately 21% reduction in colorectal cancer risk in women (combined risk estimate, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.65-0.97; P = 0.026), but not in men (combined risk estimate, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.90-1.33). Thus, consumption of soy foods may be associated with a reduction in colorectal cancer risk in women, but not in men.

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