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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Combination of 5-fluorouracil and genistein induces apoptosis synergistically in chemo-resistant cancer cells through the modulation of AMPK and COX-2 signaling pathways.

5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is one of the widely used chemotherapeutic drugs targeting various cancers, but its chemo-resistance remains as a major obstacle in clinical settings. In the present study, HT-29 colon cancer cells were markedly sensitized to apoptosis by both 5-FU and genistein compared to the 5-FU treatment alone. There is an emerging evidence that genistein, soy-derived phytoestrogen, may have potential as a chemotherapeutic agent capable of inducing apoptosis or suppressing tumor promoting proteins such as cyclooxygenase-2 ( COX-2). However, the precise mechanism of cellular cytotoxicity of genistein is not known. The present study focused on the correlation of AMPK and COX-2 in combined cytotoxicity of 5-FU and genistein, since AMPK is known as a primary cellular homeostasis regulator and a possible target molecule of cancer treatment, and COX-2 as cell proliferation and anti-apoptotic molecule. Our results demonstrated that the combination of 5-FU and genistein abolished the up-regulated state of COX-2 and prostaglandin secretion caused by 5-FU treatment in HT-29 colon cancer cells. These appear to be followed by the specific activation of AMPK and the up-regulation of p53, p21, and Bax by genistein. Under same conditions, the induction of Glut-1 by 5-FU was diminished by the combination treatment with 5-FU and genistein. Furthermore, the reactive oxygen species (ROS) was found as an upstream signal for AMPK activation by genistein. These results suggested that the combination of 5-FU and genistein exert a novel chemotherapeutic effect in colon cancers, and AMPK may be a novel regulatory molecule of COX-2 expression, further implying its involvement in cytotoxicity caused by genistein.[1]


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