Consumption of a plant-based diet can prevent the development and progression of chronic diseases associated with extensive neovascularization, including solid malignant tumors. In previous studies, we have shown that the plant-derived isoflavonoid genistein is a potent inhibitor of cell proliferation and in vitro angiogenesis. In the present study, we report that certain structurally related flavonoids are more potent inhibitors than genistein. Indeed, 3-hydroxyflavone, 3′,4′-dihydroxyflavone, 2′,3′-dihydroxyflavone, fisetin, apigenin, and luteolin inhibited the proliferation of normal and tumor cells, as well as in vitro angiogenesis, at half-maximal concentrations in the low micromolar range. We have previously demonstrated that genistein concentrations in the urine of subjects consuming a plant-based diet is 30-fold higher than in subjects consuming a traditional Western diet. The wider distribution and the more abundant presence of flavonoids in the plant kingdom, together with the present results, suggest that flavonoids may contribute to the preventive effect of a plant-based diet on chronic diseases, including solid tumors.

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Work in Heidelberg was supported by grants from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Kulemann-Stiftung. and Deutsche Krebshilfe; work in Geneva by Grant 31-43364.95 from the Swiss National Science Foundation; and work in Helsinki by grants from the Finnish Cancer Foundation and the Sigrid Juselius Foundation.

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