EF24, a novel synthetic curcumin analog, induces apoptosis in cancer cells via a redox-dependent mechanism

Anticancer Drugs. 2005 Mar;16(3):263-75. doi: 10.1097/00001813-200503000-00005.


In this study, we show that the novel synthetic curcumin analog, EF24, induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis by means of a redox-dependent mechanism in MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells and DU-145 human prostate cancer cells. Cell cycle analysis demonstrated that EF24 causes a G2/M arrest in both cell lines, and that this cell cycle arrest is followed by the induction of apoptosis as evidenced by caspase-3 activation, phosphatidylserine externalization and an increased number of cells with a sub-G1 DNA fraction. In addition, we demonstrate that EF24 induces a depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane potential, suggesting that the compound may also induce apoptosis by altering mitochondrial function. EF24, like curcumin, serves as a Michael acceptor reacting with glutathione (GSH) and thioredoxin 1. Reaction of EF24 with these agents in vivo significantly reduced intracellular GSH as well as oxidized GSH in both the wild-type and Bcl-xL overexpressing HT29 human colon cancer cells. We therefore propose that the anticancer effect of a novel curcumin analog, EF24, is mediated in part by redox-mediated induction of apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Curcumin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • CASP3 protein, human
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases
  • Curcumin