Indexed on: 05 Jul '13Published on: 05 Jul '13Published in: The AAPS Journal
Isoflavones have been investigated in detail for their role in the prevention and therapy of prostate cancer. This is primarily because of the overwhelming data connecting high dietary isoflavone intake with reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. A number of investigations have evaluated the mechanism(s) of anticancer action of isoflavones such as genistein, daidzein, biochanin A, equol, etc., in various prostate cancer models, both in vitro and in vivo. Genistein quickly jumped to the forefront of isoflavone cancer research, but the initial enthusiasm was followed by reports on its contradictory prometastatic and tumor-promoting effects. Use of soy isoflavone mixture has been advocated as an alternative, wherein daidzein can negate harmful effects of genistein. Recent research indicates a novel role of genistein and other isoflavones in the potentiation of radiation therapy, epigenetic regulation of key tumor suppressors and oncogenes, and the modulation of miRNAs, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, and cancer stem cells, which has renewed the interest of cancer researchers in this class of anticancer compounds. This comprehensive review article summarizes our current understanding of the role of isoflavones in prostate cancer research.