MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are emerging as important regulators in various pathobiological processes in cancer. Genistein, as a
major isoflavonoid isolated from dietary soybean, possesses a wide variety of biological activities particularly in cancer prevention.
However, the molecular mechanisms by which genistein elicits its effects on ovarian cancer cells have not been fully elucidated. In this
study, we reported that expression of miR-27a was higher in human ovarian cancer relative to benign ovarian tissues. Meanwhile,
transfection of SKOV3 cells with the inhibitor of miR-27a suppressed growth and migration of tumor cells. Our study also found that
treatment of ovarian cancer cells with genistein caused an inhibition of ovarian cancer cell growth and migration. Further cellular
mechanistic studies revealed that genistein down-regulated miR-27a expression, which was accompanied by significantly increased
expression of Sprouty2, a putative miR-27a target gene. Taken together, our findings reveal that oncogenic miR-27a plays an important
role in ovarian cancer cell growth and metastasis, and genistein, as nontoxic inactivators of miRNA, can block ovarian cancer cell growth
and migration, offering novel insights into the mechanisms of genistein therapeutic actions.