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Food Chem. 2016 Apr 1;196:589-600. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.09.085. Epub 2015 Sep 26.

Understanding genistein in cancer: The "good" and the "bad" effects: A review.

Author information

1
Institute of Food Sciences, National Research Council, 83100 Avellino, Italy. Electronic address: mrusso@isa.cnr.it.
2
Institute of Food Sciences, National Research Council, 83100 Avellino, Italy.
3
Department of Drug Sciences, Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology Section, University of Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy.
4
Department of Biotechnology, Alagappa University, Karaikudi 630 004, Tamil Nadu, India. Electronic address: devikasi@yahoo.com.
5
Department of Biotechnology, Alagappa University, Karaikudi 630 004, Tamil Nadu, India.
6
Applied Biotechnology Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

Nowadays, diet and specific dietary supplements are seen as potential adjuvants to prevent different chronic diseases, including cancer, or to ameliorate pharmacological therapies. Soybean is one of the most important food components in Asian diet. A plethora of evidence supports the in vitro and in vivo anticancer effects of genistein, a soybean isoflavone. Major tumors affected by genistein here reviewed are breast, prostate, colon, liver, ovarian, bladder, gastric, brain cancers, neuroblastoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. However, it is not always clear if and when genistein is beneficial against tumors (the "good" effects), or the opposite, when the same molecule exerts adverse effects (the "bad" effects), favouring cancer cell proliferation. This review will critically evaluate this concept in the light of the different molecular mechanisms of genistein which occur when the molecule is administered at low doses (chemopreventive effects), or at high doses (pharmacological effects).

KEYWORDS:

ERα/ERβ; Genistein; Soybean; Tyrosine kinases; miRNA

PMID:
26593532
DOI:
10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.09.085
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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