Abstract Title:

The Potential Utility of Curcumin in the Treatment of HER-2-Overexpressed Breast Cancer: An In Vitro and In Vivo Comparison Study with Herceptin.

Abstract Source:

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012 ;2012:486568. Epub 2011 Jun 6. PMID: 21876713

Abstract Author(s):

Hung-Wen Lai, Su-Yu Chien, Shou-Jen Kuo, Ling-Ming Tseng, Hui-Yi Lin, Chin-Wen Chi, Dar-Ren Chen

Article Affiliation:

Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua 50006, Taiwan.


HER-2 is an important oncoprotein overexpressed in about 15-25% of breast cancers. We hypothesized that the ability of curcumin to downregulate HER-2 oncoprotein and inhibit the signal transduction pathway of PI3K/Akt, MAPK, and NF-κB activation may be important in the treatment of HER-2-overexpressed breast cancer. To examine the effect of curcumin on breast cancer cells, MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, MCF-10A, BT-474, and SK-BR-3-hr (a herceptin resistant strain from SK-BR-3) cells were used for in vitro analysis. The in vivo effect ofcurcumin on HER-2-overexpressed breast cancer was investigated with the HER-2-overexpressed BT-474 xenograft model. Cell growth, cell cycle change, the antimobility effect, signal transduction, and xenograft volume analysis between groups treated with herceptin and/or curcumin were tested. Curcumindecreased the cell growth of various breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, MCF-10A, BT-474, and SK-BR-3-hr). In Western blot analysis, the phosphorylation of Akt, MAPK, and expression of NF-κB were reduced in BT-474 cells, but not in SK-BR-3-hr cells, after treatment with herceptin. When treated with curcumin, the HER-2 oncoprotein, phosphorylation of Akt, MAPK and expression of NF-κB were decreased in both BT-474 and SK-BR-3-hr cells. In the BT-474 xenograft model, though not as much as herceptin, curcumin did effectively decrease the tumor size. The combination of curcumin with herceptin was not better than herceptin alone; however, the combination of taxol and curcumin had an antitumor effect comparable with taxol and herceptin. The results suggested that curcumin has potential as a treatment for HER-2-overexpressed breast cancer.

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