Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Cancer. 2010 Jul 1;127(1):9-20. doi: 10.1002/ijc.25220.

Curcumin upregulates insulin-like growth factor binding protein-5 (IGFBP-5) and C/EBPalpha during oral cancer suppression.

Author information

Institute of Oral Biology, School of Dentistry, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.


Curcumin is a common food ingredient derived from the plant Curcuma longa and is a potent drug against tumorigenesis. Both insulin-like growth factor binding protein-5 (IGFBP-5) and CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha (C/EBPalpha) are suppressors of head and neck carcinogenesis. We identified curcumin as an inducer of IGFBP-5 expression in multiple types of oral keratinocytes; furthermore, curcumin induces IGFBP-5 promoter activity in SAS oral cancer cells. Promoter deletion mapping identified a region (nt -71 to nt -59 relative to the transcription start site) as containing a C/EBPalpha-binding element that is indispensable for curcumin-mediated IGFBP-5 upregulation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed that in vivo binding of C/EBPalpha to this region was remarkably increased in the presence of curcumin. Curcumin increased nuclear C/EBPalpha expression and IGFBP-5 expression through p38 activation and this was abrogated by SB203580 treatment. Furthermore, MKK6 expression activated p38 and C/EBPalpha, increasing IGFBP-5 promoter activity and expression. Finally, curcumin-induced IGFBP-5 expression is associated with the suppression of xenograft tumorigenesis in mice due to oral cancer cells. We conclude that curcumin activates p38, which, in turn, activates the C/EBPalpha transactivator by interacting with binding elements in the IGFBP-5 promoter. The consequential upregulation of C/EBPalpha and IGFBP-5 by curcumin is crucial to the suppression of oral carcinogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center