The effects of short-term genistein intervention on prostate biomarker expression in patients with localised prostate cancer before radical prostatectomy

Br J Nutr. 2012 Dec 28;108(12):2138-47. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512000384. Epub 2012 Mar 8.


Nutritionally relevant levels of genistein, the predominant isoflavone in soyabean associated with lower risk of prostate cancer (PCa), may modulate the expression of prostate tissue biomarkers associated with cancer prediction and progression. A phase 2 placebo-controlled, randomised, double-blind clinical trial was conducted in forty-seven Norwegian patients before prostatectomy. Intervention was 30 mg genistein or placebo capsules daily for 3-6 weeks. Luminal cells from malignant and benign glands were isolated with laser capture microdissection and the mRNA levels of androgen-related biomarkers (androgen receptor, NK3 homeobox 1, kallikrein-related peptide 4 (KLK4)) and cell cycle-related genes (p21 Waf1/Cip1 , p27 Kip1 , p53) were analysed with real-time semiquantitative PCR. Immunohistochemistry of androgen-, cell cycle-, proliferative- (Ki67 nuclear antigen), apoptotic- (B-cell CLL/lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) and BCL-2-associated X protein) and neuroendocrine differentiation-related biomarkers (neuron-specific enolase and cytoplasmic chromogranin A) was performed using tissue microarrays containing normal, Gleason grade 3 and grade 4 prostate tissues. There were no significant effects by genistein intervention on proliferation-, cell cycle-, apoptosis- or neuroendocrine biomarkers. Genistein intervention, however, significantly reduced the mRNA level of KLK4 in tumour cells (P = 0·033) and there was a non-significant reduction in androgen and cell cycle-related biomarkers, except for p27Kip1, whose expression in the nuclear compartment was increased. Genistein intervention modulated the expression of several biomarkers which may be related to PCa prediction and progression. The present study supports genistein as a chemopreventive agent in PCa. Further investigation is warranted in larger and longer-duration studies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / genetics
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Cell Cycle / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Genistein / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Kallikreins / genetics
  • Male
  • Norway
  • Placebos
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostatectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics
  • Tissue Array Analysis


  • Androgens
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Placebos
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Genistein
  • Kallikreins
  • kallikrein 4