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J Nutr. 1995 Mar;125(3 Suppl):790S-797S.

Genistein, a dietary ingested isoflavonoid, inhibits cell proliferation and in vitro angiogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Oncology and Immunology, Children's University Hospital, Ruprecht-Karls Universit├Ąt, Heidelberg, Germany.


Consumption of a plant-based diet can prevent the development and progression of chronic diseases that are associated with extensive neovascularization. To determine whether prevention might be associated with dietary derived angiogenesis inhibitors, we have fractionated urine of healthy human subjects consuming a plant-based diet and examined the fractions for their abilities to inhibit the proliferation of vascular endothelial cells. One of the most potent fractions contained several isoflavonoids, which we identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and subsequently synthesized. Of all synthetic compounds, the isoflavonoid genistein was the most potent and inhibited endothelial cell proliferation and in vitro angiogenesis at half maximal concentrations of 5 and 150 mumol/L, respectively. Moreover, genistein inhibited the proliferation of various tumor cells. Genistein excretion in urine of subjects consuming a plant-based diet is in the micromolar range, which is 30-fold higher than that of subjects consuming a traditional Western diet. The high concentrations of genistein in urine of vegetarians and our present results suggest that genistein may contribute to the preventive effect of plant-based diet on chronic diseases, including solid tumors, by inhibiting neovascularization and tumor cell proliferation. Thus genistein may have important applications in the treatment of solid tumors and angiogenic diseases.

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