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J Biol Chem. 2011 Dec 9;286(49):42232-47. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.262295. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Curcumin enhances the efficacy of chemotherapy by tailoring p65NFκB-p300 cross-talk in favor of p53-p300 in breast cancer.

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Division of Molecular Medicine, Bose Institute, P-1/12, Calcutta Improvement Trust Scheme VII M, Kolkata 700054, India.


Breast cancer cells often develop multiple mechanisms of drug resistance during tumor progression, which is the major reason for the failure of breast cancer therapy. High constitutive activation of NFκB has been found in different cancers, creating an environment conducive for chemotherapeutic resistance. Here we report that doxorubicin-induced SMAR1-dependent transcriptional repression and SMAR1-independent degradation of IkBα resulted in nuclear translocation of p65NFκB and its association with p300 histone acetylase and subsequent transcription of Bcl-2 to impart protective response in drug-resistant cells. Consistently SMAR1-silenced drug-resistant cells exhibited IkBα-mediated inhibition of p65NFκB and induction of p53-dependent apoptosis. Interestingly, curcumin pretreatment of drug-resistant cells alleviated SMAR1-mediated p65NFκB activation and hence restored doxorubicin sensitivity. Under such anti-survival condition, induction of p53-p300 cross-talk enhanced the transcriptional activity of p53 and intrinsic death cascade. Importantly, promyelocyte leukemia-mediated SMAR1 sequestration that relieved the repression of apoptosis-inducing genes was indispensable for such chemo-sensitizing ability of curcumin. A simultaneous decrease in drug-induced systemic toxicity by curcumin might also have enhanced the efficacy of doxorubicin by improving the intrinsic defense machineries of the tumor-bearer. Overall, the findings of this preclinical study clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of curcumin to combat doxorubicin-resistance. We, therefore, suggest curcumin as a potent chemo-sensitizer to improve the therapeutic index of this widely used anti-cancer drug. Taken together, these results suggest that curcumin can be developed into an adjuvant chemotherapeutic drug.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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