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Cancer Lett. 2010 Jul 1;293(1):65-72. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2009.12.018. Epub 2010 Jan 20.

Curcumin inhibits the side population (SP) phenotype of the rat C6 glioma cell line: towards targeting of cancer stem cells with phytochemicals.

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Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 604 Allison Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA. <>


The phytochemical curcumin, from the Indian spice turmeric, has many biological properties, including anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic activities. We have examined the effects of curcumin on the rat C6 glioma cell line. Treated and control cells were analyzed by Hoechst 33342 dye and flow cytometry. We observed a decrease in the side population (SP) of C6 cells after daily curcumin treatment of the C6 cells. Direct incubation of curcumin to C6 cells during the Hoechst assay also decreased SP. Since SP has been associated with stem cell populations, curcumin may be a dietary phytochemical with potential to target cancer stem cells.

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