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Current Trends in Biotechnology and Pharmacy
Year : 2013, Volume : 7, Issue : 4
First page : ( 854) Last page : ( 861)
Print ISSN : 0973-8916. Online ISSN : 2230-7303.

Curcumin Potentiates Antitumor effect of Gemcitabine in Human Breast Cancer in vitro

Serasanambati Mamatha, Chilakapati Shanmuga Reddy, Manikonda Pavan Kumar, Kanala Jagadeeswara Reddy*

Sugen Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd, 4/86, S. V. Nagar, Perumalla Palli, Tirupati – 517 505, A.P., India

*For Correspondence - kjreddy32@gmail.com

Online published on 29 October, 2013.


Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed disease among women. In recent years, chemotherapeutic drugs such as gemcitabine, erlotinib, etc. have been developed for the treatment of breast cancer. Breast cancers relapse due to the generation of chemoresistance that makes therapeutic drugs ineffective. Hence, agents that can reduce the chemoresistance to the therapeutic drugs are being developed for better advancement of in cancer therapy. The present study evaluates the efficiency of curcumin, in suppression of gemcitabine induced NF-kB activity and in the enhancement of antitumor effect of gemcitabine on MCF-7 and MDA MB-231breast cancer cells. 10 or 20 μM of curcumin and 10 or 100 μM of gemcitabine, alone or in combination, were used. Cell proliferation by MTT assay, apoptotic effects by Live/Dead assay, nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB) activation or suppression by EMSA were determined. The results indicated a decrease in cell proliferation of up to 61% (p ≤ 0.01) and 45% (p ≤ 0.01) at 20 μM curcumin and 100 μM of gemcitabine in MCF7 and MDA MB-231, respectively. Whereas 20 μM curcumin potentiated the apoptotic effects of gemcitabine (100μM) predominantly in MCF-7 by 61% and in MDA MB-231 by 46% which was determined by using Live/Dead assay. However, curcumin (20 μM) significantly (p ≤ 0.05) suppressed NF-kB activation by 80% which was induced by gemcitabine (100μM) in both cell lines. The data obtained from the present investigation shows the dose dependent changes in MCF-7 and MDA MB-231. The combined results revealed the beneficial role of curcumin in potentiating the anti-tumor effects of gemcitabine through NF-kB suppression and apoptotic effects.



Apoptosis, Curcumin, Gemcitabine, NF-kB.


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