Genistein, one of the predominant isoflavones derived from soybeans, has been shown beneficial effects in cancer prevention and treatment. There is an accumulating body of experimental evidences suggesting that genistein affects cancer progression by increasing apoptosis, inducing cell cycle arrest,modulating intracellular signaling pathways, and inhibiting invasion and metastasis of cancer cells. During last decade, many researchers have conducted extensive studies by synthesizing amounts of structurally-modified derivatives based on the isoflavone skeleton of genistein to enhance its anticancer activity, some analogs of which possess more potent activities of the prevention and/or treatment of various cancers. In this review, we summarized the current knowledge regarding anticancer effects,structure-activity relationships and action mechanisms of genistein and its synthesized analogs, which would be beneficial to the rational design of new genistein derivatives as anticancer drugs.
Keywords: Akt, androgen, anticancer agents, apoptosis, cancer therapy, CDK, cell cycle, chemoprevention, genistein, isoflavone
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