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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2015;16(9):3917-22.

Dendrosomal curcumin suppresses metastatic breast cancer in mice by changing m1/m2 macrophage balance in the tumor microenvironment.

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Immunology Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran E-mail :,


Curcumin, a lipid-soluble compound extracted from the plant Curcuma Longa, has been found to exert immunomodulatory effects via macrophages. However, most studies focus on the low bioavailability issue of curcumin by nano and microparticles, and thus the role of macrophages in the anticancer mechanism of curcumin has received little attention so far. We have previously shown the potential biocompatibility, biodegradability and anti-cancer effects of dendrosomal curcumin (DNC). In this study, twenty-seven BALB/c mice were equally divided into control as well as 40 and 80 mg/kg groups of DNC to investigate the involvement of macrophages in the antitumor effects of curcumin in a typical animal model of metastatic breast cancer. At the end of intervention, the tumor volume and weight were significantly reduced in DNC groups compared to control (P<0.05). Histopathological data showed the presence of macrophages in tumor and spleen tissues. Real-time PCR results showed that DNC increased the expression of STAT4 and IL-12 genes in tumor and spleen tissues in comparison with control (P<0.05), referring to the high levels of M1 macrophages. Furthermore treatment with DNC decreased STAT3, IL-10 and arginase I gene expression (P<0.05), indicating low levels of M2 macrophage. The results confirm the role of macrophages in the protective effects of dendrosomal curcumin against metastatic breast cancer in mice.

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