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J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Jan 10;210:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2017.06.037. Epub 2017 Jul 4.

Curcumol induces cell cycle arrest in colon cancer cells via reactive oxygen species and Akt/ GSK3β/cyclin D1 pathway.

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Xiangya Hospital Central South University, Chang sha 410008, China; College of Pharmacy, Guilin Medical University, Guilin 541004, China.
College of Pharmacy, Guilin Medical University, Guilin 541004, China.
Intensive Care Unit, Zhuzhou Central Hospital, Zhuzhou 412007, China.
Digestive System Department, The Frist People's Hospital of YueYang, Yueyang 414000, China.
College of Pharmacy, Guilin Medical University, Guilin 541004, China. Electronic address:



Curcuma kwangsiensis S. G. Lee & C. F. Liang (Guangxi ezhu, in Chinese) belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, has been used as a traditionally Chinese medicine nearly 2000 year. Curcumol is one of the guaiane-type sesquiterpenoid hemiketal isolated from medicine plant Curcuma kwangsiensis S. G. Lee & C. F. Liang, which has been reported possesses anti-cancer effects. Our previous study found that the most contribution to inhibit nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell growth was curcumol.


To assess the effect of curcumol on cell cycle arrest against human colon cancer cells (CRC) cells (LoVo and SW480) and explore its mechanism in vitro and in vivo.


Curcumol was dissolved in absolute ethyl alcohol. The concentration of absolute ethyl alcohol in the control group or in experimental samples was always 1/500 (v/v) of the final medium volume. LoVo and SW480 cells were treated with different concentrations of curcumol (0, 53, 106, 212 and 424μM). And then the cell cycle of each group was examined by flow cytometry. The protein levels of PI3K, p-Akt, cyclin D1, cyclin E, CDK2, CDK4 and GSK3β were determined by Western blot. The mRNA expression of PI3K, Akt, cyclin D1, CDK4, P27, p21, and P16 in the treated cells were analyzed by real-time RT-PCR. In addition, the antitumor activity of curcumol was evaluated in nude mice bearing orthotopic tumor implants.


Curcumol induced cell cycle arrest in G1/S phase. RT-qPCR and Western blot data showed that curcumol enhanced the expression of GSK3β, P27, p21 and P16, and decreased the levels of PI3K, phosphorylated Akt (p-Akt), cyclin D1, CDK4, cyclin E and CDK2. Furthermore, curcumol induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in LoVo cells, and ROS scavenger N-acetylcysteine (NAC) significantly reversed curcumol-induced cell growth inhibition. Besides, curcumol also prevented the growth of human colon cancer cells xenografts in nude mouse, accompanied by the reduction of PI3K, Akt, cyclin D1, CDK4, cycln E and significant increase of GSK3β.


Curcumol caused cell cycle arrest at the G0/G1 phase by ROS production and Akt/ GSK3β/cyclin D1 pathways inactivation, indicating the potential of curcumol in the prevention of colon cancer carcinogenesis.


Akt; Cell cycle; Colon cancer; Curcumol; Cyclin D1; ROS

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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