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Br J Nutr. 2006 Jul;96(1):169-76.

Soya isoflavones suppress phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-induced COX-2 expression in MCF-7 cells.

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Food and Nutritional Sciences Programme, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong.


Epidemiological studies indicate that Asian women have a lower incidence of breast cancer compared with their counterparts in the West, and soya consumption has been suggested as a contributory factor. Clinical and animal studies have revealed that cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression is associated with a risk of breast cancer. In the present study, we investigated the effect of soya isoflavones on the expression of COX-2 in the breast cell line MCF-7. Genistein, daidzein and equol were found to inhibit COX-2 expression induced by phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). Similar findings were observed in the COX-2 protein analysis. In order to study transcriptional control, a fragment of the 5'-flanking region of the hCOX-2 gene was amplified and inserted into a firefly luciferase reporter plasmid. The reporter assay indicated that the transactivation of the hCOX-2 promoter was induced by PMA, and activity was inhibited with the co-administration of genistein, daidzein or equol. An activator protein-1 (AP-1)/cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB) binding site (-59/-53) was identified in hCOX-2 promoter, and this could be critical in PMA-induced COX-2 expression. Truncation reporter plasmids with (-70/-36) and without (-51/-36) AP-1/CREB were constructed for subsequent analysis. The results revealed that the hCOX-2 promoter transactivation suppressed by isoflavone could be dependent on AP-1/CREB binding. Nonetheless, this study illustrated that the soya isoflavones reduced COX-2 expression, which could be important in the post-initiation events of breast carcinogenesis.

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