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Clinical pharmacology of isoflavones and its relevance for potential prevention of prostate cancer

Paul L De Souza , Pamela J Russell , John H Kearsley , Laurence G Howes
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00314.x 542-555 First published online: 1 September 2010

Abstract

Isoflavones are phytoestrogens that have pleiotropic effects in a wide variety of cancer cell lines. Many of these biological effects involve key components of signal transduction pathways within cancer cells, including prostate cancer cells. Epidemiological studies have raised the hypothesis that isoflavones may play an important role in the prevention and modulation of prostate cancer growth. Since randomized phase III trials of isoflavones in prostate cancer prevention are currently lacking, the best evidence for this concept is presently provided by case control studies. However, in vitro data are much more convincing in regard to the activity of a number of isoflavones, and have led to the development of genistein and phenoxodiol in the clinic as potential treatments for cancer. In addition, the potential activity of isoflavones in combination with cytotoxics or radiotherapy warrants further investigation. This review focuses on the clinical pharmacology of isoflavones and its relevance to their development for use in the prevention of prostate cancer, and it evaluates some of the conflicting data in the literature.

  • chemoprevention
  • clinical trials
  • daidzein
  • equol
  • genistein
  • phenoxodiol
  • signal transduction
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