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Oncol Lett. 2016 Sep;12(3):2189-2193. Epub 2016 Jul 6.

Genistein inhibits A549 human lung cancer cell proliferation via miR-27a and MET signaling.

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Department of Medical Oncology, Hebei Key Laboratory of Cancer Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy, Affiliated Hospital of Hebei University, Baoding, Hebei 071000, P.R. China.
College of Chemistry and Environmental Science, Key Laboratory of Chemical Biology of Hebei Province, Hebei University, Baoding, Hebei 071002, P.R. China.
College of Life Sciences, Hebei University, Baoding, Hebei 071002, P.R. China.


Genistein is a soybean isoflavone; in its aglycone it has various biological activities. Animal experiments, clinical studies and epidemiological investigations suggest that genistein has preventative and curative functions for a number of diseases, particularly in cancer. The present study explored the potential anti-cancer effect of genistein by observing its role in inhibiting A549 human lung cancer cell proliferation and investigating the possible mechanism. A549 cells were exposed to various concentrations of genistein (0, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 200 µM; dissolved in physiological saline) for 1, 2 and 3 days. Subsequently, the viability of A549 cells was determined by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, cell apoptosis was examined using a flow cytometer, caspase 3/9 activity was measured using commercial kits, reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to analyze the miR-27a expression and western blotting was used to investigate MET protein expression. The results suggested a significant inhibition of A549 cell growth following treatment with genistein in a time- and dose-dependent manner. The current study also indicated that treatment with genistein significantly induces cell apoptosis and promotes caspase-3/9 activation of A549 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Further functional assays revealed that the anti-cancer effect of genistein activated microRNA-27a (miR-27a) expression levels and reduced MET protein expression in A549 cells. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that genistein inhibits A549 human lung cancer cell proliferation. Furthermore, this study reports, for the first time, a correlation between the anti-cancer effect of genistein and miR-27a-mediated MET signaling.


MET proto-oncogene; genistein; lung cancer; microRNA-27a

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