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PLoS One. 2013 Aug 7;8(8):e71130. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071130. Print 2013.

The curcumin analog EF24 targets NF-κB and miRNA-21, and has potent anticancer activity in vitro and in vivo.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the Center for Cancer Research, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee, United States of America.


EF24 is a curcumin analog that has improved anticancer activity over curcumin, but its therapeutic potential and mechanism of action is unknown, which is important to address as curcumin targets multiple signaling pathways. EF24 inhibits the NF-κB but not the JAK-STAT signaling pathway in DU145 human prostate cancer cells and B16 murine melanoma cells. EF24 induces apoptosis in these cells apparently by inhibiting miR-21 expression, and also enhances the expression of several miR-21 target genes, PTEN and PDCD4. EF24 treatment significantly suppressed the growth of DU145 prostate cancer xenografts in immunocompromised mice and resulted in tumor regression. EF24 enhanced the expression of the miR-21 target PTEN in DU145 tumor tissue, but suppressed the expression of markers of proliferating cells (cyclin D1 and Ki67). In syngeneic mice injected with B16 cells, EF24 treatment inhibited the formation of lung metastasis, prolonged animal survival, inhibited miR-21 expression and increased the expression of miR-21 target genes. Expression profiling of miRNAs regulated by EF24 in vitro and in vivo showed that the antitumor activity of EF24 reflected the enhanced expression of potential tumor suppressor miRNAs as well as the suppressed expression of oncogenic miRNAs, including miR-21. Taken together, our data suggest that EF24 is a potent anticancer agent and selectively targets NF-κB signaling and miRNA expression, indicating that EF24 has significant potential as a therapeutic agent in various cancers.

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