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Leuk Res. 1994 Jun;18(6):431-9.

The natural tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein produces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in Jurkat T-leukemia cells.

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Istituti di Medicina Interna e Scienze Oncologiche, Università di Perugia, Italy.


Genistein, a natural isoflavonoid phytoestrogen, is a strong inhibitor of protein tyrosine kinases. We analyzed the effects of genistein on in vitro growth, cell-cycle progression and chromatin structure of Jurkat cells, a T-cell leukemia line with a constitutively increased tyrosine phosphorylation pattern. Exposure of in vitro cultured Jurkat cells to genistein resulted in a dose-dependent, growth inhibition. Cell-cycle analysis of genistein-treated cells revealed a G2/M arrest at low genistein concentrations (5-10 micrograms/ml), while at higher doses (20-30 micrograms/ml) there was also a perturbation in S-phase progression. The derangements in cell-cycle control were followed by apoptotic death of genistein-treated cells. Immunocytochemical analysis of cells stained with a FITC-conjugated anti-phosphotyrosine monoclonal antibody showed that 30 micrograms/ml genistein effectively inhibit tyrosine kinase activity in cultured Jurkat cells. Our results indicate that the natural isoflavone genistein antagonizes tumor cell growth through both cell-cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis and suggest that it could be a promising new agent in cancer therapy.

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