Genistein (GEN), a soy isoflavone, stimulates growth of estrogen-dependent human tumor cells (MCF-7) in a preclinical mouse model for postmenopausal breast cancer. Antiestrogens and aromatase inhibitors are frontline therapies for estrogen-dependent breast cancer. We have demonstrated that dietary GEN can negate the inhibitory effect of tamoxifen. In this study, we evaluated the interaction of dietary GEN (at 250-1000 p.p.m. in the American Institute of Nutrition 93 growth diet) and an aromatase inhibitor, letrozole (LET), on the growth of tumors in an aromatase-expressing breast cancer xenograft model (MCF-7Ca) in the presence and absence of the substrate androstenedione (AD). Dietary GEN (250 and 500 p.p.m.) or implanted AD stimulated MCF-7Ca tumor growth. Implanted LET inhibited AD-stimulated MCF-7Ca tumor growth. In the presence of AD and LET, dietary GEN (250, 500 and 1000 p.p.m.) reversed the inhibitory effect of LET in a dose-dependent manner. Uterine wet weight, plasma estradiol (E2) levels (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and total plasma GEN and LET levels (liquid chromatography-electrospray/tandem mass spectrometry) were measured. Ki-67 (cellular proliferation), aromatase and pS2 protein expression in tumors were evaluated using immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis. In conclusion, dietary GEN increased the growth of MCF-7Ca tumors implanted in ovariectomized mice and could also negate the inhibitory effect of LET on MCF-7Ca tumor growth. These findings are significant because tumors, which express aromatase and synthesize estrogen, are good candidates for aromatase therapy dietary and GEN can reverse the inhibitory effect of LET on tumor growth and adversely impact breast cancer therapy. Caution is warranted for consumption of dietary GEN by postmenopausal women with estrogen-dependent breast cancer taking LET treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research