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Clin Cancer Res. 2005 Oct 15;11(20):7490-8.

Curcumin suppresses the paclitaxel-induced nuclear factor-kappaB pathway in breast cancer cells and inhibits lung metastasis of human breast cancer in nude mice.

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  • 1Cytokine Research Laboratory and Department of Experimental Therapeutics, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, 77030, USA.


Currently, there is no effective therapy for metastatic breast cancer after surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy have been used against the primary tumor. Because curcumin suppresses nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activation and most chemotherapeutic agents activate NF-kappaB that mediates cell survival, proliferation, invasion, and metastasis, we hypothesized that curcumin would potentiate the effect of chemotherapy in advanced breast cancer and inhibit lung metastasis. We tested this hypothesis using paclitaxel (Taxol)-resistant breast cancer cells and a human breast cancer xenograft model. As examined by electrophoretic mobility gel shift assay, paclitaxel activated NF-kappaB in breast cancer cells and curcumin inhibited it; this inhibition was mediated through inhibition of IkappaBalpha kinase activation and IkappaBalpha phosphorylation and degradation. Curcumin also suppressed the paclitaxel-induced expression of antiapoptotic (XIAP, IAP-1, IAP-2, Bcl-2, and Bcl-xL), proliferative (cyclooxygenase 2, c-Myc, and cyclin D1), and metastatic proteins (vascular endothelial growth factor, matrix metalloproteinase-9, and intercellular adhesion molecule-1). It also enhanced apoptosis. In a human breast cancer xenograft model, dietary administration of curcumin significantly decreased the incidence of breast cancer metastasis to the lung and suppressed the expression of NF-kappaB, cyclooxygenase 2, and matrix metalloproteinase-9. Overall, our results indicate that curcumin, which is a pharmacologically safe compound, has a therapeutic potential in preventing breast cancer metastasis possibly through suppression of NF-kappaB and NF-kappaB-regulated gene products.

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