Effect of genistein on in vitro and in vivo models of cancer.


Barnes S




J Nutr


In two-thirds of studies on the effect of genistein-containing soy materials in animal models of cancer, the risk of cancer (incidence, latency or tumor number) was significantly reduced. In addition, purified genistein delayed mammary tumor appearance in association with increased cell differentiation in mammary tissue in rats treated with 7, 12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene when administered neonatally, inhibited phorbol ester-induced H2O2 production in a model of skin cancer, and inhibited aberrant crypt formation in a model of colonic cancer. In in vitro models, genistein inhibited the proliferation of human tumor cell lines in culture with a wide variation in IC50 values (2.6-79 mumol/L, or 1-30 micrograms/mL). In only a few cases was the IC50 below 13.2 mumol/L (5 micrograms/mL), the presumed upper limit for the serum genistein concentration in those on a high soy diet. In future studies, greater emphasis should be placed on the effect of genistein on nontransformed, normal cell lines from the tissues where cancer can occur rather than established tumor cell lines. Similarly, the effect of genistein on the progression and/or promotion of cancer may be more clearly examined using nontransformed cell lines transfected with specific oncogenes thought to be activated during oncogenesis.