Anticancer Therapeutic Potential of Soy Isoflavone, Genistein

  • Mepur H. Ravindranath
  • Sakunthala Muthugounder
  • Naftali Presser
  • Subramanian Viswanathan
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 546)


Genistein (4′5, 7-trihydroxyisoflavone) occurs as a glycoside (genistin) in the plant family Leguminosae, which includes the soybean (Glycine max). A significant correlation between the serum/plasma level of genistein and the incidence of gender-based cancers in Asian, European and American populations suggests that genistein may reduce the risk of tumor formation. Other evidence includes the mechanism of action of genistein in normal and cancer cells. Genistein inhibits protein tyrosine kinase (PTK), which is involved in phosphorylation of tyrosyl residues of membrane-bound receptors leading to signal transduction, and it inhibits topoisomerase II, which participates in DNA replication, transcription and repair. By blocking the activities of PTK, topoisomerase II and matrix metalloprotein (MMP9) and by down-regulating the expression of about 11 genes, including that of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), genistein can arrest cell growth and proliferation, cell cycle at G2/M, invasion and angiogenesis. Furthermore, genistein can alter the expression of gangliosides and other carbohydrate antigens to facilitate their immune recognition. Genistein acts synergistically with drugs such as tamoxifen, cisplatin, 1,3bis 2-chloroethyl-1-nitrosourea (BCNU), dexamethasone, daunorubicin and tiazofurin, and with bioflavonoid food supplements such as quercetin, green-tea catechins and black-tea thearubigins. Genistein can augment the efficacy of radiation for breast and prostate carcinomas. Because it increases melanin production and tyrosinase activity, genistein can protect melanocytes of the skin of Caucasians from UV-B radiation-induced melanoma.


Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Breast Cancer Cell Prostate Cancer Cell Focal Adhesion Kinase Tyrosine Phosphorylation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mepur H. Ravindranath
    • 1
  • Sakunthala Muthugounder
  • Naftali Presser
  • Subramanian Viswanathan
  1. 1.Laboratory of GlycoimmunotherapyJohn Wayne Cancer InstituteSanta MonicaUSA

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