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Oncol Rep. 2013 May;29(5):1851-8. doi: 10.3892/or.2013.2310. Epub 2013 Feb 27.

Synergistic anticancer effects of curcumin and resveratrol in Hepa1-6 hepatocellular carcinoma cells.

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Department of Oncology and Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Oncology, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200032, PR China.


Hepatocellular carcinoma remains one of the most prevalent malignancies worldwide. Curcuma aromatica and Polygonum cuspidatum are one of the commonly used paired-herbs for liver cancer treatment. Curcumin and resveratrol are the major anticancer constituents of Curcuma aromatica and Polygonum cuspidatum, respectively. Curcumin and resveratrol have been found to exhibit a synergistic anticancer effect in colon cancer. However, the combined effect of curcumin and resveratrol against hepatocellular carcinoma remains unknown. In the present study, we evaluated the combined effects of curcumin and resveratrol in hepatocellular carcinoma Hepa1-6 cells. The results showed that curcumin and resveratrol significantly inhibited the proliferation of Hepa1-6 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The combination treatment of curcumin and resveratrol elicited a synergistic antiproliferative effect in Hepa1-6 cells. The apoptosis of Hepa1-6 cells induced by the combination treatment with curcumin and resveratrol was accompanied by caspase-3, -8 and -9 activation, which was completely abrogated by a pan caspase inhibitor, Z-VAD-FMK. Combination of curcumin and resveratrol upregulated intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in Hepa1-6 cells. The ROS scavenger, NAC, partially attenuated the apoptosis and caspase activation induced by the combination treatment of curcumin and resveratrol. In addition, the combination of curcumin and resveratrol downregulated XIAP and survivin expression. These data suggest that the combination treatment of curcumin and resveratrol is a promising novel anticancer strategy for liver cancer. The present study also provides new insights into the effective mechanism of paired-herbs in traditional Chinese medicine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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