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J Nutr Biochem. 2015 Dec;26(12):1442-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.07.015. Epub 2015 Aug 8.

Curcumin enhances poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor sensitivity to chemotherapy in breast cancer cells.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.
Department of Food and Nutrition, School of Life Science and Nano-Technology, Hannam University, Daejeon 305-811, Korea. Electronic address:


Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor has shown promising responses in homologous recombination (HR) repair-deficient cancer cells. More specifically, targeting HR pathway in combination with PARP inhibitor has been an effective chemotherapy strategy by so far. Curcumin has been recognized as anticancer agents for several types of cancers. Here, we demonstrate that curcumin inhibits a critical step in HR pathway, Rad51 foci formation, and accumulates γ-H2AX levels in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Curcumin also directly reduces HR and induces cell death with cotreatment of PARP inhibitor in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Moreover, curcumin, when combined with ABT-888, could effectively delayed breast tumor formation in vivo. Our study indicates that cotreatment of curcumin and PARP inhibitor might be useful for the combination chemotherapy for aggressive breast cancer treatment as a natural bioactive compound.


Breast cancer cells; Chemotherapy; Curcumin; Homologous-recombination repair; PARP inhibitor

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