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Int J Mol Med. 2003 Jul;12(1):29-34.

Pleotropic effects of genistein on MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

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Department of Urology and Pathology, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


Soy isoflavone, genistein has been shown to induce growth inhibition, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in cultured cancer cell lines derived from head and neck, breast, lung, and prostate cancers and showed antitumor activity against tumors in multiple animal models. In the present study we show that genistein inhibits the growth of MCF-7 breast cancer cell line in a dose dependent manner. The genistein induced growth inhibition is accompanied by the reduction in the number of mitotic cells and overexpression of cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor p21WAF1 leading to cell cycle arrest. In addition, the telomeric area was significantly reduced in genistein treated MCF-7 cells. Analysis of multiple genes involving the apoptotic pathway reveals inhibition of Akt activity without affecting the steady state levels of Akt protein expression and the down regulation of proapoptotic gene BAD expression. From these results, we conclude that genistein-induced inhibition of cell division is partly mediated by decreased telomere length, reduced mitosis and inhibition of Akt activation, leading to induction of apoptosis.

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