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Hum Exp Toxicol. 2018 Jun;37(6):618-625. doi: 10.1177/0960327117714037. Epub 2017 Jul 6.

Stimulatory effects of curcumin and quercetin on posttranslational modifications of p53 during lung carcinogenesis.

Zhang P1,2,3,4, Zhang X5.

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1 Xuzhou Central Hospital, Jiangsu Province, People's Republic of China.
2 XuZhou Hospital of Medical College of Southeast University, Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, People's Republic of China.
3 Xuzhou Clinical School of Xuzhou Medical College, Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, People's Republic of China.
4 Xuzhou Clinical Medical College of Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, People's Republic of China.
5 Information Institute, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, Jiangsu, People's Republic of China.


Lung cancer is responsible for increase in mortality due to cancer-related deaths, and new approaches are being explored for the betterment of the situation. In the present study, chemopreventive efficacy of curcumin and quercetin was investigated against benzo(a)pyrene (BP)-induced lung carcinogenesis. The mice were segregated into five groups, which included normal control, BP-treated, BP + curcumin-treated, BP + quercetin-treated, and BP + curcumin + quercetin-treated groups. The morphological and histological analyses of tumor nodules confirmed lung carcinogenesis22 weeks after weeks single intraperitoneal injection of BP at a dose of 100 mg/kg body weight to mice. Curcumin and quercetin when administered individually as well as in combination significantly elevated the expression of acetylated-p53, which was otherwise depressed due to BP treatment. Also, both the phytochemicals significantly reduced the BP-inflicted increased levels of phosphorylated-p53. Furthermore, observed increase in the number of apoptotic cells by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL), assay and increased activities of caspase 3 and 9 confirmed the induction of apoptosis by curcumin and quercetin. Moreover, the histological slides also showed noticeable improvement in the histoarchitecture of lungs by phytochemicals. The present study concludes that prophylactic treatment with curcumin and quercetin induces apoptosis in the lungs by modulation of p53 posttranslational modifications.


Quercetin; lung cancer; posttranslational modifications


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