Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2016 Mar;100:66-76. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2015.12.008. Epub 2016 Jan 4.

Pharmacological inhibition of lipid droplet formation enhances the effectiveness of curcumin in glioblastoma.

Author information

Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
Department of Chemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Electronic address:


Increased lipid droplet number and fatty acid synthesis allow glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and aggressive type of brain cancer, to withstand accelerated metabolic rates and resist therapeutic treatments. Lipid droplets are postulated to sequester hydrophobic therapeutic agents, thereby reducing drug effectiveness. We hypothesized that the inhibition of lipid droplet accumulation in glioblastoma cells using pyrrolidine-2, a cytoplasmic phospholipase A2 alpha inhibitor, can sensitize cancer cells to the killing effect of curcumin, a promising anticancer agent isolated from the turmeric spice. We observed that curcumin localized in the lipid droplets of human U251N glioblastoma cells. Reduction of lipid droplet number using pyrrolidine-2 drastically enhanced the therapeutic effect of curcumin in both 2D and 3D glioblastoma cell models. The mode of cell death involved was found to be mediated by caspase-3. Comparatively, the current clinical chemotherapeutic standard, temozolomide, was significantly less effective in inducing glioblastoma cell death. Together, our results suggest that the inhibition of lipid droplet accumulation is an effective way to enhance the chemotherapeutic effect of curcumin against glioblastoma multiforme.


Caspase-3 sensor; Cell death; Chemotherapy; Curcumin; Glioblastoma; Lipid droplets; Pyrrolidine-2; Sensitization; Spheroids; Temozolomide

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center