Curcumin induces apoptosis in HCT 116 human colon cancer cells in a p21 independent manner.

Publication: Experimental and molecular pathology
Publication Date: 2008
Study Author(s): Watson, Jane L;Hill, Richard;Lee, Patrick W;Giacomantonio, Carman A;Hoskin, David W;
Institution: Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
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Several micronutrients present in fruits and vegetables exhibit anticancer activity as a result of their actions on molecular targets involved in carcinogenesis and Tumor progression. Curcumin, a phenolic phytochemical derived from the rhizome of Curcuma longa, exhibits both cancer-preventative activity and growth inhibitory effects on neoplastic cells. Several studies report that Curcumin inhibits cancer cell proliferation and induces apoptosis in cancer cells through p21-mediated Cell cycle arrest. Cancer cells that are deficient in p21 are also reported to be more prone to undergo apoptosis in response to a variety of Cytotoxic agents. In this study, we determined whether curcumin-induced Cytotoxicity in cultures of HCT-116 human colon cancer cells was dependent on p21 status. curcumin killed wild-type HCT-116 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner, as measured in an MTT cell viability assay. Moreover, an equivalent Cytotoxic effect by Curcumin was observed in both p21(+/+) and p21(-/-)HCT-116 cells, indicating that curcumin-induced cytotoxicity was p21-independent. Primary cultures of human dermal fibroblasts were less sensitive than HCT-116 colon cancer cells to lower doses of curcumin, suggesting a degree of selectivity for neoplastic cells. Western blot analysis showed that cell Death in curcumin-treated cultures of p21(+/+) and p21(-/-) HCT-116 cells was associated with a reduction in pro-caspase-3 and PARP-1 cleavage, which are indicative of apoptosis. We conclude that curcumin-induced apoptosis in HCT-116 colon cancer cells does not depend on p21 status.
PMID: 18423603

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