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J Biol Chem. 2010 Aug 13;285(33):25332-44. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.095240. Epub 2010 Jun 9.

Inhibition of NFkappaB and pancreatic cancer cell and tumor growth by curcumin is dependent on specificity protein down-regulation.

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Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843, USA.


Curcumin activates diverse anticancer activities that lead to inhibition of cancer cell and tumor growth, induction of apoptosis, and antiangiogenic responses. In this study, we observed that curcumin inhibits Panc28 and L3.6pL pancreatic cancer cell and tumor growth in nude mice bearing L3.6pL cells as xenografts. In addition, curcumin decreased expression of p50 and p65 proteins and NFkappaB-dependent transactivation and also decreased Sp1, Sp3, and Sp4 transcription factors that are overexpressed in pancreatic cancer cells. Because both Sp transcription factors and NFkappaB regulate several common genes such as cyclin D1, survivin, and vascular endothelial growth factor that contribute to the cancer phenotype, we also investigated interactions between Sp and NFkappaB transcription factors. Results of Sp1, Sp3, and Sp4 knockdown by RNA interference demonstrate that both p50 and p65 are Sp-regulated genes and that inhibition of constitutive or tumor necrosis factor-induced NFkappaB by curcumin is dependent on down-regulation of Sp1, Sp3, and Sp4 proteins by this compound. Curcumin also decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and induced reactive oxygen species in pancreatic cancer cells, and this pathway is required for down-regulation of Sp proteins in these cells, demonstrating that the mitochondriotoxic effects of curcumin are important for its anticancer activities.

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