A blogging friend sent me the full genistein study (thanks!!!) recently published in “Phytotherapy Research” (abstract: http://tinyurl.com/7wwnku), a study that I mentioned in my December 29th post. It starts out with the usual dismal information about multiple myeloma, which is a B-cell malignancy characterized by the latent accumulation in bone marrow of secretory plasma cells with a low proliferative index and an extended life span and accounts for 1% of all cancers and more than 10% of all blood cancers…oh, and it remains incurable…
There follows a description of what happens when the transcription factor NF-kappaB gets constitutively activated (that simply means that it is activated all the time)…this is not good, as far as we myeloma folks are concerned, since it means that our myeloma cells are protected from apoptosis (=from kicking the bucket). Reading on…blablablabla…okay, the upshot: NF-kappaB is an important target for myeloma treatment. So far, we have learned nothing new.
The research team chose to test genistein, a predominant isoflavone found in soybeans, which has been shown to inhibit the growth of various cancer cells in vitro and in vivo without toxicity to normal cells. Genistein suppresses NF-kappaB and many of the genes that it regulates. And humans can consume it safely, so they say.
Results. The team tested two different myeloma cell lines that expressed a hyperactive NF-kappaB. The cells were treated with different amounts of genistein and doxorubicin. A very small amount of genistein was sufficient to suppress the activation of NF-kappaB. It also worked synergistically with doxorubicin, leading to greater antitumor activity in vitro. Good.
For the more technically-oriented, genistein also inhibited Akt phosphorylation (when this happens, NF-kappaB doesn’t travel to the nucleus, which is a GOOD thing, take my word for it) and down-regulated ICAM-1, cyclin D, bcl-2 and bcl-xL (=four wicked genes).
Okay, but does genistein kill myeloma cells? Yes. How? Well, The precise molecular mechanism is not clear, the researchers admit. But wowie zowie, check this out: like curcumin, zerumbone and cyclopamine, genistein inhibits the Notch-1 pathway…does anyone remember what that pathway is? Right, it has to do with STEM cells…well, this might tip the balance in genistein’s favour, as far as I am concerned…yes, this is good news indeedie! I am so glad I read the full study!
Thanks to my big-hearted blogging friend, I have in my possession the 2006 genistein-Notch full study, which is next on my reading list…in the meantime, scribble scribble, a mental note: make more chickpea curries for dinner…