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Oncotarget. 2016 Sep 27;7(39):63870-63886. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.11563.

Curcumin potentiates antitumor activity of cisplatin in bladder cancer cell lines via ROS-mediated activation of ERK1/2.

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Department of Urology, Uijeongbu St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Samsung Biomedical Research Institute, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Urology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


Resistance of bladder cancer to cisplatin is a major obstacle to successful treatment. In the current study, we investigated the apoptotic effects of curcumin and cisplatin co-treatment in 253J-Bv(p53 wild-type) and T24(p53 mutant) bladder cancer. We found that curcumin and cisplatin co-treatment primarily targets reactive oxygen species(ROS) and extracellular regulated kinase(ERK) signaling during the apoptosis induction in bladder cancer. The apoptosis rate in 253J-Bv and T24 cells co-treated with curcumin and cisplatin was increased compared to that in cells exposed to single-agent treatment conditions. Also, caspase-3 activation and ROS production were observed in both cells treated with curcumin and cisplatin, together with upregulation of p-MEK and p-ERK1/2 signaling. NAC(ROS scavenger) and U0126(ERK inhibitor) inhibited apoptosis induced by curcumin and cisplatin. In addition, when 253J-Bv cells were co-treated with curcumin and cisplatin, p53 and p21 expression levels were markedly increased when compared to controls. Unlike 253J-Bv cells, T24 cells were co-treated with curcumin and cisplatin revealed an induction of apoptosis through decreased p-signal transducer and activator of transcription 3(STAT3) expression. Moreover, pretreatment with U0126 suppressed curcumin and cisplatin-induced upregulation of p53, p21, and p-STAT3 and downregulation of survival proteins in both cells. In conclusion, co-treatment with curcumin and cisplatin synergistically induced apoptosis through ROS-mediated activation of ERK1/2 in bladder cancer.


ERK; bladder cancer; cisplatin; curcumin; oxidative stress

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