Anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic effect of genistein alone or in combination with capsaicin in TPA-treated rat mammary glands or mammary cancer cell line

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Aug:1171:415-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04696.x.


The topical application of TPA (12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate) to animal skin or direct treatment of TPA to cell cultures leads to inflammatory responses by enhancing cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) expression, and specific COX-2 inhibitors counteract this kind of inflammatory response. Furthermore, suppression of these inflammatory events by dietary-origin chemopreventive agents can provide a potential strategy to control carcinogenesis. In this in vivo study, the mammary glands of mature female rats were treated with TPA, and then the effects of genistein alone or in combination with capsaicin on suppression of inflammatory responses were examined. The combined effects of genistein and capsaicin on COX-2, pJNK, pERK, and pp38 expressions were additive or nonadditive, depending on signals tested. In vitro MCF-7 breast cancer cells, the apoptotic bodies as shown with Hoechst 33342 dye, exhibited a synergistic effect between genistein and capsaicin. The abilities of genistein alone or in combination with capsaicin in inhibiting breast cancer cell proliferation through the modulation of AMPK and COX-2 were tested. AMPK activation by genistein in combination with capsaicin is critical for inhibiting COX-2. We propose that genistein in combination with capsaicin exerts anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties through the modulation of AMPK and COX-2 and possibly various mitogen-activated protein kinases synergistically or nonsynergistically.

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Capsaicin / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism
  • Drug Synergism
  • Female
  • Genistein / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / drug effects*
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / metabolism
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / pathology
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Genistein
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Protein Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate
  • Capsaicin