Genistein, an epigenome modifier during cancer prevention

Yukun Zhang, Hong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dietary compounds have been observed to have a great potential to regulate the epigenome, which is disrupted and reprogrammed during carcinogenesis. Because of their close association with cancer development, DNA methylation patterns have been used as a crucial marker for the study of cancer-related epigenetics. There is immense evidence indicating that dietary components play a critical role in cancer development. Genistein, one of the soy-derived bioactive isoflavones, affects tumorigenesis through epigenetic regulations. By modulating chromatin configuration and DNA methylation, genistein activates tumor suppressor genes and affects cancer cell survival. Here, we summarize and discuss both in vitro and in vivo studies in the field that investigate the effect of genistein on histone modifications and DNA methylation. The promising role of genistein in cancer prevention and therapeutic applications will be discussed from an epigenetic point of view.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)888-891
Number of pages4
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Cancer epigenetics
  • DNA methylation
  • Early life exposure
  • Histone code
  • Maternal genistein
  • Soy isoflavone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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