The AAPS Journal

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 991–1000 | Cite as

Perspectives on the Role of Isoflavones in Prostate Cancer

  • Aamir Ahmad
  • Bernhard Biersack
  • Yiwei Li
  • Bin Bao
  • Dejuan Kong
  • Shadan Ali
  • Sanjeev Banerjee
  • Fazlul H. Sarkar
Review Article Theme: Natural Products Drug Discovery in Cancer Prevention


Isoflavones have been investigated in detail for their role in the prevention and therapy of prostate cancer. This is primarily because of the overwhelming data connecting high dietary isoflavone intake with reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. A number of investigations have evaluated the mechanism(s) of anticancer action of isoflavones such as genistein, daidzein, biochanin A, equol, etc., in various prostate cancer models, both in vitro and in vivo. Genistein quickly jumped to the forefront of isoflavone cancer research, but the initial enthusiasm was followed by reports on its contradictory prometastatic and tumor-promoting effects. Use of soy isoflavone mixture has been advocated as an alternative, wherein daidzein can negate harmful effects of genistein. Recent research indicates a novel role of genistein and other isoflavones in the potentiation of radiation therapy, epigenetic regulation of key tumor suppressors and oncogenes, and the modulation of miRNAs, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, and cancer stem cells, which has renewed the interest of cancer researchers in this class of anticancer compounds. This comprehensive review article summarizes our current understanding of the role of isoflavones in prostate cancer research.

Key words

anticancer daidzein genistein isoflavone prostate cancer 



Part of the work cited in this article was funded by National Cancer Institute, NIH grant 5R01CA083695 (F.H. Sarkar). Further, the authors want to mention that although this is a comprehensive overview on the subject, the journal's policy of limiting the number of cited references to 100 made it extremely challenging to cite all the relevant studies on isoflavones.

Conflict of Interest

All the authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aamir Ahmad
    • 1
  • Bernhard Biersack
    • 2
  • Yiwei Li
    • 1
  • Bin Bao
    • 1
  • Dejuan Kong
    • 1
  • Shadan Ali
    • 3
  • Sanjeev Banerjee
    • 1
  • Fazlul H. Sarkar
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Pathology, Karmanos Cancer InstituteWayne State University School of MedicineDetroitUSA
  2. 2.Organic Chemistry LaboratoryUniversity BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  3. 3.Department of Oncology, Karmanos Cancer InstituteWayne State University School of MedicineDetroitUSA

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