• genistein;
  • endometrial cancer;
  • microarray;
  • phytoestrogen;
  • tumor suppression


The incidence of hormone-related diseases such as prostatic, breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer is lower in Asian populations compared to Western countries. High consumption of soybean products that are rich in phytoestrogens, predominantly genistein, is postulated to be responsible for the lower incidence of hormone-related disease, although the mechanism through which this effect might be mediated is unclear. In this study, microarray analysis was used to identify the changes in gene expression elicited by treatment of the human endometrial cancer cell line, Ishikawa, with genistein at both physiologically achievable and supraphysiological concentrations. Genistein treatment at 5 µM concentration induced multiple changes in gene expression including some implicated in oncogenesis. In contrast, treatment with a supraphysiological concentration of genistein predominantly activated stress response genes and showed very limited overlap with the genes regulated at lower concentrations. Of the genes regulated by genistein, 9.3% were also regulated by 17β-estradiol suggesting that genistein exerts its response via the estrogen pathway. These results indicate that at physiological concentrations, genistein is able to elicit pleiotropic effects on a variety of pathways believed to be involved in tumorigenesis. Supraphysiological concentrations of genistein, such as those used in many previous studies, elicit changes in gene expression that are unlikely to occur in vivo. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.