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Nutr Cancer. 2000;38(2):223-8.

Effects of phytoestrogens on growth and DNA integrity in human prostate tumor cell lines: PC-3 and LNCaP.

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  • 1Division of Cellular Integrity, Rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, UK.


Prostate cancer is one of the most common male cancers in Western countries, yet the incidence of this fatal disease remains low in Asian populations. Environmental factors such as diet play an important role in hormone-dependent cancer etiology, and a high phytoestrogen intake may be one factor contributing to the low prostate cancer mortality in Eastern populations. In this study, we investigated the effects of the phytoestrogens genistein, daidzein, coumestrol, and equol on cell growth and DNA damage (strand breakage) in two human prostate tumor cell lines: androgen receptor-positive LNCaP and androgen receptor-negative PC-3. Each compound caused growth inhibition at physiologically relevant concentrations (<10 microM). Genistein induced DNA damage in both cell lines at <10 microM. Daidzein inhibited cell growth at 10-100 microM yet had no effect on DNA damage at up to 500 microM. Thus, despite their structural similarities, different phytoestrogens inhibit prostate tumor cell growth by independent mechanisms.

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