Genistein Enhances Insulin-Like Growth Factor Signaling Pathway in Human Breast Cancer (MCF-7) Cells

Wen Fang Chen, Man Sau Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


Physiological concentration of genistein, a natural isoflavonoid phytoestrogen, stimulates human breast cancer (MCF-7) cells proliferation. In this study, we hypothesize that low concentration of genistein mimics the action of 17β-estradiol in stimulation of MCF-7 cell growth by enhancement of IGF-I signaling pathway. Genistein, at 1 μM, stimulated the growth of MCF-7 cells. Cell cycle analysis showed that 1 μM genistein significantly increased the S phase and decreased the GOG1 phase of MCF-7 cells. The protein and mRNA expression of IGF-I receptor (IGF-IR) and insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1, but not Src homology/collagen protein, increased in response to 1 μM genistein in a time-dependent manner. These effects could be completely abolished by cotreatment of MCF-7 cells with estrogen antagonist ICI 182,780 (1 μM) and tamoxifen (0.1 μM). Our results also showed that genistein induction of IGF-IR and IRS-1 expression resulted in enhanced tyrosine phosphorylation of IGF-IR and IRS-1 on IGF-I stimulation. Taken together, these data provide the first evidence that the IGF-IR pathway is involved in the proliferative effect of low-dose genistein in MCF-7 cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2351-2359
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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