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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2011 Mar;20(3):419-27. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-10-1025. Epub 2011 Jan 14.

Plasma isoflavones and the risk of lung cancer in women: a nested case-control study in Japan.

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Epidemiology and Prevention Division, Research Center for Cancer Prevention and Screening, National Cancer Center, Tokyo, 104-0045 Japan.



Although several epidemiologic studies have found that isoflavone intake assessed by questionnaire is associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer, no prospective study has investigated this association using blood concentrations of isoflavones.


We conducted a nested case-control study within a population-based prospective cohort study. A total of 24,127 women aged 40 to 69 years who returned the baseline questionnaire and provided blood samples were observed from 1990 through 2006. During a median follow-up period of 13.5 years, 126 newly diagnosed lung cancer cases were identified. For each case, we selected two controls matched for age, area, smoking status, and condition of blood draw. A conditional logistic regression model was used to estimate the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs of lung cancer in relation to plasma concentrations of genistein, daidzein, glycitein, equol, and total isoflavones.


After exclusion of 20 lung cancer cases diagnosed in the first 3 years after blood collection, an inverse association was found between plasma genistein concentration and lung cancer risk. The multivariate-adjusted OR (95% CI) of lung cancer in the highest quintile of plasma genistein concentration as compared with that in the lowest quintile was 0.31 (0.12, 0.86; P for trend=0.085). Other isoflavones and total isoflavones were not associated with a significant decrease in the risk of lung cancer.


Plasma genistein concentration was inversely associated with lung cancer risk in Japanese women.


Our data support the previously observed association between isoflavone intake and lung cancer risk.

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