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Researchers Say Genistein Induces Cancer Cell Death By Targeting Copper

December 6, 2010: 10:23 AM EST

A study by U.S. and Indian scientists has found that the isoflavone genistein, found in soybeans, seems to hinder the growth of breast cancer cells because it moves copper from the cells. According to the researchers, copper transporters are over-expressed in breast and other cancer cells, which accounts for the accumulation of excess copper. They acknowledged that they do not yet understand why copper concentration in tumors is increased. But they hypothesized that copper may be important for expression of ceruloplasmin, a protein that seems to stimulate production of  tumor blood vessels. “We believe that such a mechanism explains the anticancer effect of genistein and also its preferential cytotoxicity towards cancer cells,” the researchers concluded.

Mohammad F. Ullah, et al. , "Soy isoflavone genistein induces cell death in breast cancer cells through mobilization of endogenous copper ions and generation of reactive oxygen species", Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, December 06, 2010, © WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH
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