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Int J Oncol. 2013 Feb;42(2):733-40. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2012.1719. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Genistein, a soy phytoestrogen, prevents the growth of BG-1 ovarian cancer cells induced by 17β-estradiol or bisphenol A via the inhibition of cell cycle progression.

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Laboratory of Veterinary Biochemistry and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Chungbuk 361-763, Republic of Korea.


An endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) is a global health concern. In this study, we examined the effects of genistein (GEN) on bisphenol A (BPA) or 17β-estradiol (E2)-induced cell growth and gene alterations of BG-1 ovarian cancer cells expressing estrogen receptors (ERs). In an in vitro cell viability assay, E2 or BPA significantly increased the growth of BG-1 cells. This increased proliferative activity was reversed by treatment with ICI 182,780, a well-known ER antagonist, while cell proliferation was further promoted in the presence of propyl pyrazole triol (PPT), an ERα agonist. These results imply that cell proliferation increased by E2 or BPA was mediated by ERs, particularly ERα. BPA clearly acted as a xenoestrogen in BG-1 ovarian cancer cells by mimicking E2 action. In contrast, GEN effectively suppressed BG-1 cell proliferation promoted by E2 or BPA by inhibiting cell cycle progression. E2 and BPA increased the expression of cyclin D1, a factor responsible for the G1/S cell cycle transition. They also decreased the expression of p21, a potent cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor that arrests the cell cycle in G1 phase, and promoted the proliferation of BG-1 cells. As shown by its repressive effect on cell growth, GEN decreased the expression of cyclin D1 augmented by E2 or BPA. On the other hand, GEN increased the p21 expression downregulated by E2 or BPA. Collectively, our findings suggest that GEN, a dietary phytoestrogen, has an inhibitory effect on the growth of estrogen-dependent cancers promoted by E2 or BPA.

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