Genistein (5,7,4'-trihydroxyisoflavone), an isoflavinoid found in soy beans, has been identified as potentially causal for the low incidence of metastatic prostate cancer (PCa) in certain countries. Although genistein- induced PCa cell adhesion has been identified as a possible causative mechanism, direct growth inhibition by genistein has been reported and also could be causal. If in vivo growth inhibition was significant, then growth inhibition should occur at concentrations attained with dietary consumption, the mechanism of growth inhibition should be relevant to PCa, and genistein (a broad-spectrum in vitro protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitor) should have relatively specific kinase inhibitory effects in vivo. These considerations were investigated by measuring growth inhibitory activity in a variety of PCa cell lines. Growth inhibitory effects were shown not to occur with concentrations below the low micromolar range (i.e., 3 logs above that attained in serum). In-depth mechanistic studies with the PC3-M metastatic variant cell line demonstrated that growth inhibition was independent of genistein's estrogenic effects. Genistein was shown to decrease the viability of nonadherent cells, suggesting a lack of dependence on cell adhesion for growth inhibition. However, important molecular and kinetic differences between genistein's effects on growth in adherent versus nonadherent cells were identified. Specific suppression of focal adhesion kinase activity (without global decreases in phosphotyrosine) was shown to precede induction of apoptosis, which was responsible for growth inhibition in adherent cells. These findings do not support an in vivo growth inhibitory role by genistein consumed in quantities associated with a soy-based diet. They do, however, identify genistein as a potential therapeutic agent for PCa and as a tool with which to study the control of apoptosis in PCa.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine