Effects of genistein and structurally related phytoestrogens on cell cycle kinetics and apoptosis in MDA-MB-468 human breast cancer cells

S Balabhadrapathruni, T J Thomas, E J Yurkow, P S Amenta, T Thomas
Oncology Reports 2000, 7 (1): 3-12
We have studied the effects of phytoestrogens (genistein, quercetin, daidzein, biochanin A and kaempferol) on proliferation, cell cycle kinetics, and apoptosis of MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cells. Genistein and quercetin inhibited cell growth with IC50 values of 8.8 and 18.1 muM, respectively, while the other phytoestrogens were less effective. Flow cytometric analysis showed G2/M cell cycle arrest with 25 muM and higher concentrations of genistein. At 100 muM, genistein, quercetin and kaempferol caused accumulation of 70, 60 and 35% of cells, respectively, in G2/M phase by 24 h. In contrast, biochanin A and daidzein were ineffective. APO-BRDU analysis revealed apoptosis with 10 muM genistein (19.5%), reaching 86% at 100 muM. Apoptosis by genistein was confirmed by Hoechst 33342 staining and fluorescence microscopy. With 100 muM quercetin, 47% of the cells were apoptotic, while the other bioflavonoids had little effect. Genistein treatment resulted in a biphasic response on cyclin B1: 70% increase in cyclin B1 level at 25 muM, and 50 and 70% decrease at 50 and 100 muM, respectively. In contrast, the action of quercetin involved an increase in cyclin B1 level. Genistein had no effect on cdc2 level up to 50 muM concentration; however, there was a decrease in the phosphorylated form of the protein at 100 muM. Quercetin had no effect on cdc2 levels. Our results suggest that the action of genistein and quercetin involves G2/M arrest and apoptosis in MDA-MB-468 cells. Biochanin A and daidzein, although structurally related to genistein, did not share this mechanism. Thus, structurally related phytoestrogens have discrete target sites and mechanisms in their growth inhibitory action on breast cancer cells.

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