Send to

Choose Destination
Anticancer Res. 2006 Nov-Dec;26(6B):4423-30.

Inhibition of pancreatic and lung adenocarcinoma cell survival by curcumin is associated with increased apoptosis, down-regulation of COX-2 and EGFR and inhibition of Erk1/2 activity.

Author information

Department of Oncology, Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Israel.



Several studies suggested that curcumin inhibits growth of malignant cells via inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) activity. Other studies indicated that epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is also inhibited by curcumin in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, recent investigations revealed an intracellular cross-talk between EGFR signaling and the COX-2 pathway. Our aim was to evaluate whether the curcumin inhibitory effect on the survival of cancer cells is associated with simultaneous down-regulation of COX-2 and EGFR and inhibition of Erk1/2 (extra-cellular signal regulated kinase) signaling pathway.


Lung and pancreas adenocarcinoma cell lines co-expressing COX-2 and EGFR (PC-14 and p34, respectively) and those expressing EGFR but deficient in COX-2 (H1299 and Panc-1, respectively) were exposed for 72 h to curcumin (0-50 microM). Cell viability was assessed by the XTT assay. Apoptosis was determined by FACS analysis. COX-2, EGFR, ErbB-2 and p-Erk1/2 expressions were measured by Western blot analysis.


Curcumin's inhibitory effect on survival and apoptosis of lung and pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell lines was significantly higher in the COX-2-expressing cells than in the COX-2-deficient cells. In the p34 and PC-14 cells, curcumin decreased COX-2, EGFR and p-Erk1/2 expressions in a dose-dependent manner. However, in the Panc-1 and H1299 cell lines, which did not express COX-2, curcumin did not affect EGFR levels.


Curcumin co-inhibited COX-2 and EGFR expression and decreased Erk1/2 activity. This inhibition was associated with decreased survival and enhanced induction of apoptosis in lung and pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center