Genistein: A Potent Anti-Breast Cancer Agent

Curr Issues Mol Biol. 2021 Oct 10;43(3):1502-1517. doi: 10.3390/cimb43030106.


Genistein is an isoflavonoid present in high quantities in soybeans. Possessing a wide range of bioactives, it is being studied extensively for its tumoricidal effects. Investigations into mechanisms of the anti-cancer activity have revealed many pathways including induction of cell proliferation, suppression of tyrosine kinases, regulation of Hedgehog-Gli1 signaling, modulation of epigenetic activities, seizing of cell cycle and Akt and MEK signaling pathways, among others via which the cancer cell proliferation can be controlled. Notwithstanding, the observed activities have been time- and dose-dependent. In addition, genistein has also shown varying results in women depending on the physiological parameters, such as the early or post-menopausal states.

Keywords: apoptosis; breast cancer; cell cycle; estrogen receptor; genistein.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • Drug Discovery
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Genistein / analogs & derivatives
  • Genistein / chemistry
  • Genistein / pharmacology*
  • Genistein / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Soybeans / chemistry
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Genistein