Lifetime genistein intake increases the response of mammary tumors to tamoxifen in rats

Xiyuan Zhang, Katherine L. Cook, Anni Warri, Idalia M. Cruz, Mariana Rosim, Jeffrey Riskin, William Helferich, Daniel Doerge, Robert Clarke, Leena Hilakivi-Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose: Whether it is safe for estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) patients with breast cancer to consume soy isoflavone genistein remains controversial. We compared the effects of genistein intake mimicking either Asian (lifetime) or Caucasian (adulthood) intake patterns to that of starting its intake during tamoxifen therapy using a preclinical model. Experimental Design: Female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed an AIN93G diet supplemented with 0 (control diet) or 500 ppm genistein from postnatal day 15 onward (lifetime genistein). Mammary tumors were induced with 7,12-dimethylbenz(a) anthracene (DMBA), after which a group of control diet-fed rats were switched to genistein diet (adult genistein). When the first tumor in a rat reached 1.4 cm in diameter, tamoxifen was added to the diet and a subset of previously only control diet-fed rats also started genistein intake (post-diagnosis genistein). Results: Lifetime genistein intake reduced de novo resistance to tamoxifen, compared with post-diagnosis genistein groups. Risk of recurrence was lower both in the lifetime and in the adult genistein groups than in the post-diagnosis genistein group. We observed downregulation of unfolded protein response (UPR) and autophagy-related genes (GRP78, IRE1α, ATF4, and Beclin-1) and genes linked to immunosuppression (TGFβ and Foxp3) and upregulation of cytotoxic T-cell marker CD8a in the tumors of the lifetime genistein group, compared with controls, post-diagnosis, and/or adult genistein groups. Conclusions: Genistein intake mimicking Asian consumption patterns improved response of mammary tumors to tamoxifen therapy, and this effect was linked to reduced activity of UPR and prosurvival autophagy signaling and increased antitumor immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)814-824
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Dr. Kerrie Bouker for her helpful suggestions to the writing of this article. This work was supported by U54-CA149147 and U01-CA184902 from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to R. Clarke, and R01-CA164384 from NCI and AICR grant to L. Hilakivi-Clarke, P50AT006268 from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) and NCI for W. Helferich, and P30-CA51008 to Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (funding for Shared Resources). In addition, X. Zhang received a donation to support her PhD thesis work from Solomon family. The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked advertisement in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

Publisher Copyright:
©2017 AACR.


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