Curcumin induces apoptosis in breast cancer cell lines and delays the growth of mammary tumors in neu transgenic mice

Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
Journal of biological regulators and homeostatic agents (Impact Factor: 2.04). 03/2013; 27(1):105-119.
Source: PubMed
ABSTRACT
Breast cancer is a leading cancer in women and despite the benefits of the current therapies a significant number of patients with this tumor is at risk of relapse. Some of the alterations taking place in breast cancer cells are currently exploited by molecularly targeted drugs. Different drugs have been developed which target a single molecule but, given that the tumor originates from the dysregulation of many genes, there is the need to find new drugs that have more than one molecular target. Curcumin [1,7-bis-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-1,6-heptadiene-3,5-dione] (CUR), a polyphenolic compound found in the spice turmeric, is a pleiotropic molecule able to interact with a variety of molecular targets and has antitumor, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immunomodulatory and antimicrobial activities. Here we demonstrate that CUR inhibits the growth of breast cancer cell lines in a dose dependent manner, with IC50 values in the micromolar range, and induces an increase in the percentage of cells in sub-G0 phase, representing the apoptotic cell population. The activation of apoptosis was confirmed by PARP-1 cleavage and by the increased ratio between the pro-apoptotic Bax and the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 protein. In addition, in CUR-treated cells the activity of ERK1/ERK2 MAP kinases was down-regulated. The cytotoxic effects of CUR were observed in breast cancer cells expressing either high or low levels of ErbB2/neu. The in vivo antitumor activity of CUR was tested in BALB-neuT mice transgenic for the neu oncogene, which develop atypical hyperplasia of the mammary gland at 6 weeks of age and invasive carcinoma at 16 weeks of age. CUR, administered to mice both early and in an advanced stage of mammary carcinogenesis, induced a significant prolongation of tumor-free survival and a reduction of tumor multiplicity. In addition, CUR administration was safe, since no modification of hematological and clinical chemistry parameters could be observed in BALB-neuT and BALB/c mice treated with this compound for several weeks. These findings support further studies on the therapeutic potential of CUR in combination with standard therapies in breast cancer patients.
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    • "Curcumin is a natural compound derived from turmeric (Curcuma longer) and exhibits an antitumorigenic effect on various cancers. Curcumin induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells and delays the outgrowth of mammary tumors in neu transgenic mice [29]. The combination of docosahexaenoic acid and curcumin inhibits 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-(DMBA)induced mammary tumorigenesis in mice [30]. "
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    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    • "All treatments were performed in triplicate. Survival of cells was assessed by the Sulforhodamine B cell proliferation assay after 72 hours, as previously described [49]. The percentage survival of the cultures treated with MAb 2B2 was calculated by normalization of their O.D. values to those of control cultures treated with UPC10 [50]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor associated antigens are useful in colorectal cancer (CRC) management. The ribosomal P proteins (P0, P1, P2) play an important role in protein synthesis and tumor formation. The immunogenicity of the ribosomal P0 protein in head and neck, in breast and prostate cancer patients and the overexpression of the carboxyl-terminal P0 epitope (C-22 P0) in some tumors was reported. Sera from 72 colorectal tumor patients (67 malignant and 5 benign tumors) were compared with 73 healthy donor sera for the presence of antibodies to CEA, EGFR, ErbB2 and ribosomal P proteins by western blotting or ELISA. Expression of the C-22 P0 epitope on tissues and colon cancer cells was determined by immunoperoxidase staining and indirect immunofluorescence/western blotting, respectively, employing MAb 2B2. Biological effects of MAb 2B2 on colon cancer cells were assessed by the Sulforhodamine B cell proliferation assay, trypan blue exclusion test and cleaved caspase-3 detection. Fisher's exact test was used to compare the number of auto-antibodies positive patients with healthy donors. Variation in the C-22 P0 expression, and in the number of apoptotic cells was evaluated by Student's t-test. Variation in cell survival and cell death was evaluated by Newman-Keuls test. No significant humoral response was observed to CEA, EGFR and ErbB2 in CRC patients. Conversely, 7 out of 67 CRC patient sera reacted to ribosomal P proteins. The prevalence of P proteins auto-antibodies in CRC patients was significant. Five patients showed restricted P0 immunoreactivity, while two patients reacted simultaneously to all P proteins. The C-22 P0 epitope was homogenously expressed both in malignant tumors and the adjacent mucosa, but the intensity of expression was higher in the tumor. Starved colon cancer cells showed a higher C-22 P0 epitope plasma membrane expression compared to control cells. MAb 2B2 inhibited colon cancer cell growth and induced cell death in a dose dependent manner. Our study shows a spontaneous humoral immune response to ribosomal P0 protein in CRC patients and the inhibition of in vitro cancer cell growth after C-22 P0 epitope targeting. The ribosomal P0 protein might be a useful immunological target in CRC patients.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Journal of Translational Medicine
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    • "After 48 hours, adherent cells and suspended cells were harvested, centrifuged at 1,500 rpm for 10 min and washed twice with cold phosphate buffered saline (PBS). The assay was then performed as previously described [62]. Cells were analyzed with flow cytometry using a FACSCalibur cytometer running CellQuest software. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The survival rate of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) patients has not considerably changed over the last two decades. Polyphenols inhibit the growth of cancer cells. We determined whether the combination of Resveratrol (RES) and Curcumin (CUR) enhanced their in vitro and in vivo antitumor activities on HNSCC cell lines compared to the single compounds. We provide evidence that RES potentiated the apoptotic effect and reduced the IC50 of CUR on HNSCC cell lines. The model of compounds interaction indicated the onset of an additive effect of the two compounds compared to the single treatment after decrease of their concentrations. RES+CUR compared to CUR increased the PARP-1 cleavage, the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, the inhibition of ERK1 and ERK2 phosphorylation, and the expression of LC3 II simultaneously with the formation of autophagic vacuoles. RES and CUR induced cytoplasmic NF-κB accumulation. RES+CUR administrations were safe in BALB/c mice and reduced the growth of transplanted salivary gland cancer cells (SALTO) more efficiently than CUR. Overall, combinations of CUR and RES was more effective in inhibiting in vivo and in vitro cancer growth than the treatment with CUR. Additional studies will be needed to define the therapeutic potential of these compounds in combination.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Oncotarget
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