J Cancer 2018; 9(2):288-295. doi:10.7150/jca.20499 This issue
State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi, 330047, China.
# These authors contributed equally for this work.
Phytoestrogens are polyphenol compounds which have similar structure to 17β-estradiol (E2), a kind of main estrogen in women. Thus, phytoestrogens may affect the reproductive and endocrine systems, leading to the development of estrogen-related cancers. The effect of genistein (Gen), one of the most studied phytoestrogens, on human cervical cancer cells (HeLa) was investigated in this study. It was found that Gen at concentrations of 0.001, 0.01, 0.1 and 1 µmol·L-1 promoted the proliferation of HeLa cells in a dose-dependent manner. Gen increased the portion of HeLa cells in S phase and decreased the portion of the cells in G1 phase. Besides, apoptosis rate of the cells was significantly lower when treated with Gen compared with the control group. It was also found that the expression of ERα, Akt or nuclear NF-κB p65 protein was activated by Gen. The correlation between these three proteins may be as following: ERα was the upstream, followed by Akt, and then nuclear NF-κB p65 protein. In addition, the downstream genes of activated nuclear NF-κB p65 were found to be associated with cell cycle and apoptosis of cancer cells. Our results suggested that Gen may stimulate cell proliferation partially through the estrogen receptor-mediated PI3K/Akt-NF-κB pathway and the further activation of the downstream genes of nuclear NF-κB p65.
Keywords: Gen, Cell cycle, Cell apoptosis, ER, PI3K/Akt, nuclear NF-κB p65