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Anticancer Drugs. 2005 Mar;16(3):263-75.

EF24, a novel synthetic curcumin analog, induces apoptosis in cancer cells via a redox-dependent mechanism.

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Program in Molecular and Systems Pharmacology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


In this study, we show that the novel synthetic curcumin analog, EF24, induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis by means of a redox-dependent mechanism in MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells and DU-145 human prostate cancer cells. Cell cycle analysis demonstrated that EF24 causes a G2/M arrest in both cell lines, and that this cell cycle arrest is followed by the induction of apoptosis as evidenced by caspase-3 activation, phosphatidylserine externalization and an increased number of cells with a sub-G1 DNA fraction. In addition, we demonstrate that EF24 induces a depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane potential, suggesting that the compound may also induce apoptosis by altering mitochondrial function. EF24, like curcumin, serves as a Michael acceptor reacting with glutathione (GSH) and thioredoxin 1. Reaction of EF24 with these agents in vivo significantly reduced intracellular GSH as well as oxidized GSH in both the wild-type and Bcl-xL overexpressing HT29 human colon cancer cells. We therefore propose that the anticancer effect of a novel curcumin analog, EF24, is mediated in part by redox-mediated induction of apoptosis.

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