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.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.