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Oncol Rep. 2016 Feb;35(2):1065-74. doi: 10.3892/or.2015.4413. Epub 2015 Nov 12.

Curcumin induces autophagy, inhibits proliferation and invasion by downregulating AKT/mTOR signaling pathway in human melanoma cells.

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Department of Dermatology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University, Dalian, Liaoning 116011, P.R. China.


Melanoma is the foremost malignant cutaneous cancer and it is extremely resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Curcumin is an active component of turmeric, the yellow spice derived from the rhizome of Curcuma longa, and is widely known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerogenic properties. Several recent studies suggest that curcumin induces apoptosis by modulating multiple signaling pathways to exert its anticancer effect. In the present study, we investigated the effect of curcumin on the viability, invasion potential, cell cycle, autophagy and the AKT, mTOR, P70S6K proteins of AKT/mTOR signaling pathway in human melanoma A375 and C8161 cell lines in vitro and in an in vivo tumorigenesis model. Curcumin effectively inhibited the proliferation of melanoma cells in vitro and in vivo. It suppressed cell invasion, arrested the cancer cells at G2/M phase of the cell cycle, and induced autophagy. Furthermore, curcumin suppressed the activation of AKT, mTOR and P70S6K proteins. Curcumin, therefore, is a potent suppressor of cell viability and invasion, and simultaneously an inducer of autophagy in A375 and C8161 cells. Accordingly, curcumin could be a novel therapeutic candidate for the management of melanoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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