Soya could boost the battle against two of the most dangerous cancers, says scientists.
Two new university studies have revealed that the bean can stop the spread of prostate cancer and guard against breast cancer, reports the Daily Express.
In one, researchers from Northwestern University, Chicago, found that one pill a day of genistein, a natural isoflavone chemical in soya, seemed to slow or stop the spread of prostate cancer.
Prof Raymond Bergan said that the results could lead to the first non-toxic treatment that prevents cancer cell movement.
"All therapies designed to stop cancer cell movement that have been tested to date in humans have basically failed because they have been ineffective or toxic," he said.
"If this drug can effectively stop prostate cancer from moving in the body, theoretically, a similar therapy could have the same effect on the cells of other cancers," he added.
In the second study of more than 1,200 women, researchers from the University at Buffalo, New York, found isoflavones from soya can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.
Researcher Anne Weaver and her colleagues evaluated 683 women with breast cancer and compared them with 611 healthy women.
They found those with the highest isoflavone intake had a 30 percent lower risk of an invasive breast tumour and a 60 percent lower risk of a low-grade tumour.
Pre-menopausal women with the highest intake of isoflavones had a 30 percent decreased risk of Stage One disease, a 70 percent decreased risk of having a tumour larger than 2cm, and a 60 per cent decreased risk of Stage Two breast cancer.
These connections were not seen among post-menopausal women.
"These findings are not definitive and need to be considered in the context of further follow-up and confirmation. Still, we definitely saw a reduction that deserves further investigation," said Weaver.
Both the findings were presented at a conference of the American Association for Cancer Research in Philadelphia.