Synergistic action of quercetin and genistein in human ovarian carcinoma cells

Fei Shen, George Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Ovarian carcinoma is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in women and there has been a steady increase in the age-adjusted cancer death rates in the past 25 years in the US. However, patients who become cisplatin resistant respond poorly to available cytotoxic agents; therefore, discovering novel targets for ovarian carcinoma is vital. Quercetin, an anticancer agent, arrests the cell cycle at G1 and S phase boundary. Genistein, a plant flavonoid, attacks the cell cycle at G2 and/or early M phases in most carcinoma cells. Quercetin and genistein block the phosphatidylinositol conversion to IP3 signal transduction pathway mainly by inhibiting 1-phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase (PI kinase, EC and 1-phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate 5-kinase (PIP kinase, EC, respectively. Because each drug attacks a different phase of the cell cycle and reduces IP3 concentration by attacking different signal transduction enzymes, we tested the hypothesis that the two drugs might be synergistic in human carcinoma cells. In human ovarian carcinoma OVCAR-5 cells in growth inhibition assay, the IC50s for quercetin and genistein were (mean ± SE) 66 ± 3.0 and 32 ± 2.5 μM; in clonogenic assays they were 15 ± 1.2 and 5 ± 0.5 μM, respectively. When quercetin was added to the cultures of OVCAR-5 cells followed 8 h later by genistein, synergism was observed in growth inhibition and clonogenic assays. The synergistic action of quercetin and genistein may be of interest in clinical treatment of human ovarian carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-602
Number of pages6
JournalOncology Research
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997


  • Genistein
  • Ovarian carcinoma
  • Quercetin
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

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