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Cancer Res. 2009 Apr 15;69(8):3695-703. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-2958. Epub 2009 Apr 7.

Identification of a biphasic role for genistein in the regulation of prostate cancer growth and metastasis.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, District of Columbia 20057, USA.


Considered a chemopreventive agent, the ability of genistein to modulate the progression of existing prostate cancer (CaP) is not clear. We show here that the consumption of genistein (250 mg/kg diet) by 12-week-old transgenic adenocarcinoma mouse prostate (TRAMP-FVB) mice harboring prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia lesions until 20 weeks of age induces an aggressive progression of CaP, as evidenced by a 16% increase in the number of well-differentiated and poorly differentiated prostates, coinciding with a 70% incidence of pelvic lymph node (LN) metastases as opposed to 0% and 10% in 0 and 1,000 mg/kg groups, concomitant with elevated osteopontin (OPN) expression in prostates and LNs. Equivalent nanomolar (500 nmol/L) concentrations of genistein recapitulated these effects in human PC3 CaP cells as evidenced by increased proliferation, invasion, and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) activity (approximately 2-fold), accompanied by an up-regulation of OPN expression and secretion, compared with vehicle-treated cells. A pharmacologic dose (50 micromol/L) decreased proliferation, invasion, and MMP-9 activity (>2.0-fold) concomitant with OPN reduction. Upon OPN knockdown by short hairpin RNA, genistein was no longer effective in up-regulating PC3 cell proliferation, invasion, and MMP-9 activation, which were significantly reduced in the absence of OPN, highlighting the requirement for OPN in mediating the effects of genistein. Proliferation, invasion, and OPN levels were also nonsignificantly induced by genistein in the presence of ICI 182,780 or wortmannin, indicating a dependence on phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and estrogen signaling. Our results suggest the presence of a biphasic regulation of CaP growth and metastasis by genistein, warranting careful examination of the effects of genistein on hormone-dependent cancers in a chemotherapeutic setting.

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