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Pancreas. 2003 Apr;26(3):264-73.

Prevention of metastatic pancreatic cancer growth in vivo by induction of apoptosis with genistein, a naturally occurring isoflavonoid.

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Department of Surgery, UCLA School of Medicine, University of California and Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Health Care System, Los Angeles, California 90095-6904, USA.



The critical need for novel therapeutic approaches to pancreatic cancer treatment is clear. Genistein, a naturally occurring isoflavonoid, is active against certain solid malignancies, but its effect on pancreatic cancer is unknown.


To investigate the bioactivity of genistein in experimental pancreatic cancer in vitro and in vivo.


The effect of intraperitoneal genistein administration on local tumor growth and metastatic disease was determined in an orthotopic nude mouse model. Apoptosis in tumor specimens was determined by the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) technique. In vitro, the effect of genistein on cell growth was assessed by cell count and MTT (3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide) colorimetric assay. Apoptosis was determined in vitro by DNA laddering and annexin-V. Caspase-3 and nuclear factor-kappaB activity were measured following genistein treatment.


In vivo, genistein significantly improved survival, almost completely inhibited metastasis, and increased apoptosis in an orthotopic model of pancreatic cancer. In vitro genistein treatment resulted in apoptosis in all pancreatic cancer cell lines tested, and this appeared to be mediated by activation of caspase-3.


These findings suggest that the antimetastatic effect of genistein treatment in vivo is mediated by induction of apoptosis. Genistein may have a therapeutic benefit for patients with pancreatic cancer, in particular after surgery, to prevent recurrence of metastatic disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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