Research Papers:

Genistein inhibits the growth and regulates the migration and invasion abilities of melanoma cells via the FAK/paxillin and MAPK pathways

Shuna Cui _, Juan Wang, Qingqing Wu, Jing Qian, Changshui Yang and Ping Bo

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:21674-21691. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.15535

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Shuna Cui1,2,3,*, Juan Wang1,*, Qingqing Wu1, Jing Qian1,2, Changshui Yang1, Ping Bo1

1Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine for Prevention and Treatment of Senile Diseases, Medical College of Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, China

2Department of Gynaecology And Obstetrics Affiliated Hospital of Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, China

3Jiangsu Co-Innovation Center for Prevention and Control of Important Animal Infectious Diseases and Zoonoses, Yangzhou, China

*The authors have contributed equally in this work

Correspondence to:

Shuna Cui, email: sncui@yzu.edu.cn

Jing Qian, email: qianjing@yzu.edu.cn

Keywords: genistein, melanoma cells, invasion and migration, FAK/paxillin pathway, MAPK pathway

Received: July 06, 2016    Accepted: January 27, 2017    Published: February 20, 2017


Genistein is one of the main components of soy-based foods, which are widely known for their many benefits, including anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. In this study, we investigated the anti-metastasis effects of genistein on B16F10 melanoma cells. Our results showed that genistein strongly inhibited B16F10 cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in time- and concentration-dependent manners. Genistein altered the morphology of B16F10 cells to an elongated shape with slim pseudopodia-like protrusions. Moreover, genistein inhibited the invasion and migration abilities of B16F10 cells in a dose-dependent manner. On one hand, a high concentration of genistein (100 μM) significantly inhibited cell adhesion and migration, as shown by wound healing assays and transwell-migration and invasion assays. Furthermore, the expression levels of p-FAK, p-paxillin, tensin-2, vinculin, and α-actinin were decreased by genistein. As a result, genistein is believed to strongly downregulate the migration and invasion abilities of B16F10 cells via the FAK/paxillin pathway. Moreover, p-p38, p-ERK, and p-JNK levels were also dramatically decreased by treatment with genistein. Finally, genistein significantly decreased the gene expression of FAK, paxillin, vimentin, and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition-related transcription factor Snail, as shown by real-time PCR (qPCR) analysis. On the other hand, a lower concentration of genistein (12.5 μM) significantly promoted both invasion and migration by activating the FAK/paxillin and MAPK signaling cascades. Taken together, this study showed for the first time that genistein exerts dual functional effects on melanoma cells. Our findings suggest that genistein regulates the FAK/paxillin and MAPK signaling pathways in a highly concentration-dependent manner. Patients with melanoma should therefore be cautious of consuming soy-based foods in their diets.

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