Effects of genistein, a soybean-derived isoflavone, on proliferation and differentiation of B16-BL6 mouse melanoma cells

Chunhong Yan, X. G. Chen, Y. Li, R. Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


Genistein, a soybean-derived isoflavone, may contribute to the lower cancer incidence in South Asian countries. In this study, the effects and molecular mechanisms of genistein on growth and differentiation of B16-BL6 mouse melanoma cells were investigated. Genistein suppressed the growth of these melanoma cells. The IC50 value is 15.5 μM. On the other hand, genistein induced the changes of cell shape and cytoskeletal network. The cytoskeletal filaments were induced to form a bundle along the direction of elongation of the cells. Moreover, tyrosine phosphorylation levels of cytoskeleton-associated proteins decreased after the cells were exposed to 20 or 30 μM of genistein for 3 days. All these morphological and molecular changes were accompanied by appearance of the differentiated phenotypes. Genistein induced the increase of cellular melanin content, enhancement of tyrosinase activity, and decrease of colonization potentials in soft agar in a time-dependent and dose-dependent manner. The effective concentration was no more than 10 μM after 3 days' exposure. The tumorigenic potentials of B16-BL6 cells in C57BL/6 mouse also decreased after exposure to 20 or 30 μM of genistein for 3 days. When expressions of tumorrelated genes were investigated in the differentiation-induced cells, the content of P53 dramatically increased while that of c-Myc protein decreased. Therefore, due to its ability to induce cellular and molecular changes, genistein suppressed the growth and induced differentiated phenotypes in B16-BL6 melanoma cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-299
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Asian Natural Products Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes



  • Anti-cancer effects
  • Differentiation
  • Genistein
  • Melanoma cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Organic Chemistry

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