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Anticancer Res. 2013 Sep;33(9):3603-9.

Efficacy of liposomal curcumin in a human pancreatic tumor xenograft model: inhibition of tumor growth and angiogenesis.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Immunology, and Institute for Cancer Research, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, Texas, 76107, USA.



Liposome-based drug delivery has been successful in the past decade, with some formulations being Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved and others in clinical trials around the world. The major disadvantage associated with curcumin, a potent anticancer agent, is its poor aqueous solubility and hence low systemic bioavailability. However, curcumin can be encapsulated into liposomes to improve systemic bioavailability.


We determined the antitumor effects of a liposomal curcumin formulation against human MiaPaCa pancreatic cancer cells both in vitro and in xenograft studies. Histological sections were isolated from murine xenografts and immunohistochemistry was performed.


The in vitro (IC50) liposomal curcumin proliferation-inhibiting concentration was 17.5 μM. In xenograft tumors in nude mice, liposomal curcumin at 20 mg/kg i.p. three-times a week for four weeks induced 42% suppression of tumor growth compared to untreated controls. A potent antiangiogenic effect characterized by a reduced number of blood vessels and reduced expression of vascular endothelial growth factor and annexin A2 proteins, as determined by immunohistochemistry was observed in treated tumors.


These data clearly establish the efficacy of liposomal curcumin in reducing human pancreatic cancer growth in the examined model. The therapeutic curcumin-based effects, with no limiting side-effects, suggest that liposomal curcumin may be beneficial in patients with pancreatic cancer.


Curcumin; MiaPaCa cells; annexin A2; liposomal curcumin; pancreatic cancer; xenograft

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