Inhibition of cell survival signal protein kinase B/Akt by curcumin in human prostate cancer cells

J Cell Biochem. 2003 May 1;89(1):1-5. doi: 10.1002/jcb.10495.


Although curcumin has been shown to inhibit prostate tumor growth in animal models, its mechanism of action is not clear. To better understand the anti-cancer effects of curcumin, we investigated the effects of curcumin on cell survival factor Akt in human prostate cancer cell lines, LNCaP, PC-3, and DU-145. Our results demonstrated differential activation of Akt. Akt was constitutively activated in LNCaP and PC-3 cells. Curcumin inhibited completely Akt activation in both LNCaP and PC-3 cells. The presence of 10% serum decreased the inhibitory effect of curcumin in PC-3 cells whereas complete inhibition was observed in 0.5% serum. Very little or no activation of Akt was observed in serum starved DU-145 cells (0.5% serum). The presence of 10% serum activated Akt in DU-145 cells and was not inhibited by curcumin. Results suggest that one of the mechanisms of curcumin inhibition of prostate cancer may be via inhibition of Akt. To our knowledge this is the first report on the curcumin inhibition of Akt activation in LNCaP and PC-3 but not in DU-145 cells.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Becaplermin
  • Cell Survival
  • Culture Media
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-sis
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Culture Media
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-sis
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • Becaplermin
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Curcumin