Genistein inhibits p38 map kinase activation, matrix metalloproteinase type 2, and cell invasion in human prostate epithelial cells

Xiaoke Huang, Shan Chen, Li Xu, Yueqin Liu, Dilip K. Deb, Leonidas C. Platanias, Raymond C. Bergan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

199 Scopus citations


Epidemiologic studies associate consumption of genistein, in the form of dietary soy, with lower rates of metastatic prostate cancer. We have previously shown that genistein inhibits prostate cancer cell detachment in vitro, that it is well tolerated in an older cohort of men with prostate cancer, and that it alters cell signaling in that same cohort. We have also shown that p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) is necessary for transforming growth factor β (TGF-β)-mediated increases in prostate cancer adhesion. Although cell invasion is closely linked to metastatic behavior, little is known about how this process is regulated in prostate cancer or what effect, if any, genistein has on associated processes. We now show that genistein inhibits matrix metalloproteinase type 2 (MMP-2) activity in six of seven prostate cell lines tested, blocks MMP-2 induction by TGF-β, and inhibits cell invasion. Efficacy was seen at low nanomolar concentrations, corresponding to blood concentrations of free genistein attained after dietary consumption. Inhibition of p38 MAPK by either SB203580 or dominant-negative construct: blocked induction of MMP-2 and cell invasion by TGF-β. Genistein exerted similar effects and was found to block activation of p38 MAPK by TGF-β. This study shows that p38 MAPK is necessary for TGF-β-mediated induction of MMP-2 and cell invasion in prostate cancer and that genistein blocks activation of p38 MAPK, thereby inhibiting processes closely linked to metastasis, and does so at concentrations associated with dietary consumption. Any potential causal link to epidemiologic findings will require further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3470-3478
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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