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
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]. "
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    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. "
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