A synergistic antiproliferation effect of curcumin and docosahexaenoic acid in SK-BR-3 breast cancer cells: Unique signaling not explained by the effects of either compound alone

Cellular Biochemistry Laboratory, Methodist Research Institute, Indiana University Health, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
BMC Cancer (Impact Factor: 3.36). 04/2011; 11(1):149. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2407-11-149
Source: PubMed


Breast cancer is a collection of diseases in which molecular phenotypes can act as both indicators and mediators of therapeutic strategy. Therefore, candidate therapeutics must be assessed in the context of multiple cell lines with known molecular phenotypes. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and curcumin (CCM) are dietary compounds known to antagonize breast cancer cell proliferation. We report that these compounds in combination exert a variable antiproliferative effect across multiple breast cell lines, which is synergistic in SK-BR-3 cells and triggers cell signaling events not predicted by the activity of either compound alone.
Dose response curves for CCM and DHA were generated for five breast cell lines. Effects of the DHA+ CCM combination on cell proliferation were evaluated using varying concentrations, at a fixed ratio, of CCM and DHA based on their individual ED₅₀. Detection of synergy was performed using nonlinear regression of a sigmoid dose response model and Combination Index approaches. Cell molecular network responses were investigated through whole genome microarray analysis of transcript level changes. Gene expression results were validated by RT-PCR, and western blot analysis was performed for potential signaling mediators. Cellular curcumin uptake, with and without DHA, was analyzed via flow cytometry and HPLC.
CCM+DHA had an antiproliferative effect in SK-BR-3, MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-361, MCF7 and MCF10AT cells. The effect was synergistic for SK-BR-3 (ER⁻ PR⁻ Her2⁺) relative to the two compounds individually. A whole genome microarray approach was used to investigate changes in gene expression for the synergistic effects of CCM+DHA in SK-BR-3 cells lines. CCM+DHA triggered transcript-level responses, in disease-relevant functional categories, that were largely non-overlapping with changes caused by CCM or DHA individually. Genes involved in cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, inhibition of metastasis, and cell adhesion were upregulated, whereas genes involved in cancer development and progression, metastasis, and cell cycle progression were downregulated. Cellular pools of PPARγ and phospho-p53 were increased by CCM+DHA relative to either compound alone. DHA enhanced cellular uptake of CCM in SK-BR-3 cells without significantly enhancing CCM uptake in other cell lines.
The combination of DHA and CCM is potentially a dietary supplemental treatment for some breast cancers, likely dependent upon molecular phenotype. DHA enhancement of cellular curcumin uptake is one potential mechanism for observed synergy in SK-BR-3 cells; however, transcriptomic data show that the antiproliferation synergy accompanies many signaling events unique to the combined presence of the two compounds.

Download full-text


Available from: Rafat Siddiqui, Oct 09, 2015
25 Reads
  • Source
    • "The signature profile of PAM50 gene expression in SK-BR-3 cells. The expression profile of PAM50 genes (40 matching genes) from microarray data [32] in SK-BR-3 cells treated with vehicle, DHA, CCM or DHA + CCM were used to compare the signature profile of 41 genes represented on the U133A array system, as reported by Creighton [46], to classify tumors into basal-like, Her-2-enriched, luminal A, luminal B, and “normal-like.” The expression profile of untreated cells (control) resembled the ER-, Her-2-enriched profile, whereas the expression profile of cells treated with DHA + CCM more closely resembled the “normal-like” profile. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The major obstacles to the successful use of individual nutritional compounds as preventive or therapeutic agents are their efficacy and bioavailability. One approach to overcoming this problem is to use combinations of nutrients to induce synergistic effects. The objective of this research was to investigate the synergistic effects of two dietary components: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid present in cold-water fish, and curcumin (CCM), an herbal nutrient present in turmeric, in an in vivo model of DMBA-induced mammary tumorigenesis in mice. We used the carcinogen DMBA to induce breast tumors in SENCAR mice on control, CCM, DHA, or DHA + CCM diets. Appearance and tumor progression were monitored daily. The tumors were harvested 15 days following their first appearance for morphological and immunohistological analysis. Western analysis was performed to determine expression of maspin and survivin in the tumor tissues. Characterization of tumor growth was analyzed using appropriate statistical methods. Otherwise all other results are reported as mean +/- SD and analyzed with one-way ANOVA and Tukey's post hoc procedure. Analysis of gene microarray data indicates that combined treatment with DHA + CCM altered the profile of "PAM50" genes in the SK-BR-3 cell line from an ER-/Her-2+ to that resembling a "normal-like" phenotype. The in vivo studies demonstrated that DHA + CCM treatment reduced the incidence of breast tumors, delayed tumor initiation, and reduced progression of tumor growth. Dietary treatment had no effect on breast size development, but tumors from mice on a control diet (untreated) were less differentiated than tumors from mice fed CCM or DHA + CCM diets. The synergistic effects also led to increased expression of the pro-apoptotic protein, maspin, but reduced expression of the anti-apoptotic protein, survivin. The SK-BR-3 cells and DMBA-induced tumors, both with an ER- and Her-2+ phenotype, were affected by the synergistic interaction of DHA and CCM. This suggests that the specific breast cancer phenotype is an important factor for predicting efficacy of these nutraceuticals. The combination of DHA and CCM is potentially a dietary supplemental treatment for some breast cancers, likely dependent upon the molecular phenotype of the cancer.
    BMC Cancer 09/2013; 13(1):418. DOI:10.1186/1471-2407-13-418 · 3.36 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Clinical studies are ongoing to show the DHA-improved outcome of chemotherapy in patients with metastatic breast cancer [109, 110]. DHA may also have interesting synergistic effects with other compounds such as with curcumin [111]. Then n − 3 PUFA may now be considered as powerful nontoxic adjuvant of canonical anticancer treatments [112], especially for patient suffering from late stage metastatic breast cancer. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: For several years, lipids and especially n − 3 and n − 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) receive much attention in human health. Epidemiological studies tend to correlate a PUFA-rich diet with a reduced incidence of cancer, including breast cancer. However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms supporting the effect of PUFAs in breast cancer cells remain relatively unknown. Here, we review some recent progress in understanding the impact that PUFA may have on breast cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and invasion. While most of the results obtained with docosahexaenoic acid and/or eicosapentaenoic acid show a decrease of tumor cell proliferation and/or aggressivity, there is some evidence that other lipids, which accumulate in breast cancer tissues, such as arachidonic acid may have opposite effects. Finally, lipids and especially PUFAs appear as potential adjuvants to conventional cancer therapy.
    07/2012; 2012(2):712536. DOI:10.1155/2012/712536
  • Source
    • "SK-BR-3 Breast Yes Cell proliferation/genes [77] "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Epidemiological studies have linked fish oil consumption to a decreased incidence of cancer. The anticancer effects of fish oil are mostly attributed to its content of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). However, DHA, because of its unique effect of altering membrane composition, is often regarded as the major omega-3 fatty acid involved in anticancer activity. Although use of DHA as an anticancer drug to prevent or treat human cancer in clinical settings has not yet been well established, recent studies suggest that DHA can be very effective as an adjuvant with other anticancer agents. In this article, we present studies that show the role of DHA in improving anticancer drug efficacy. Several in vitro and animal studies suggest that combining DHA with other anticancer agents often improves efficacy of anticancer drugs and also reduces therapy-associated side effects. Incorporation of DHA in cellular membranes improves drug uptake, whereas increased lipid peroxidation is another mechanism for DHA-mediated enhanced efficacy of anticancer drugs. In addition, several intracellular targets including cyclooxygenase-2, nuclear factor kappa B, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, mitogen-activated protein kinase, AKT, and BCL-2/BAX are found to play an important role in DHA-mediated additive or synergistic interaction with anticancer drugs. The data suggest that DHA is a safe, natural compound that can greatly improve the anticancer properties of anticancer drugs. Use of DHA with anticancer treatments provides an avenue to therapeutic improvement that involves less risk or side effects for patients and reduced regulatory burden for implementation.
    BioFactors 11/2011; 37(6):399-412. DOI:10.1002/biof.181 · 4.59 Impact Factor
Show more