Background: Women have a lower risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) than men, and the decreased possibility of HCC in women is thought to depend on estrogen levels. As a soybean-isoflavone product, genistein has estrogenic activity in various reproductive tissues, because it mimics 17β-estradiol and binds the estrogen receptor. Though genistein is a known liver cancer suppressor, its effects have not been studies in long-term experiment, where genistein is fed to a female animal model of HCC. Methods: Mice were treated with diethylnitrosamine (DEN) to induce HCC at 2 weeks of age and fed with supplemental genistein for 5 months, from 40 to 62 weeks of age. Results: The dietary intake of genistein decreased the incidence of HCC and suppressed HCC development. Genistein induced phospho-AMPK in total liver extracts, Hep3B cells, and Raw 264.7 cells, and phospho-AMPK promoted apoptosis in liver and Hep3B cells. Moreover, phospho-AMPK down-regulated pro-inflammatory responses and ameliorated liver damage. A suppressed pro-inflammatory response with increased mitochondrial respiration was concomitantly observed after genistein treatment. Conclusions: Genistein-mediated AMPK activation increases hepatocyte apoptosis through energy-dependent caspase pathways, suppresses the inflammatory response in resident liver macrophages by increased cellular respiration, and consequently inhibits the initiation and progression of HCC.
Lee, S. R., Kwon, S. W., Lee, Y. H., Kaya, P., Kim, J. M., Ahn, C., … Hong, E. J. (2019). Dietary intake of genistein suppresses hepatocellular carcinoma through AMPK-mediated apoptosis and anti-inflammation. BMC Cancer, 19(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-018-5222-8