Activation of the activator protein 1 (AP-1) plays a critical role in oncogenesis by human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1), the etiologic agent of adult T-cell leukemia (ATL), and is required for maintenance of the malignant phenotype. Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), the major pigment of the spice turmeric, has anti-tumor activity; however, the effect of curcumin against ATL has not been elucidated. In this study, we examined the effects of curcumin on AP-1 activity in HTLV-1-infected T-cell lines. Curcumin suppressed the constitutive AP-1 DNA-binding and transcriptional activity in HTLV-1-infected T-cell line. Curcumin also inhibited HTLV-1 Tax-induced AP-1 transcriptional activity. JunD was detectable as a major component of the AP-1-DNA complex in HTLV-1-infected T-cell lines using the supershift assay. The expression of JunD was suppressed by curcumin treatment. Curcumin inhibited the growth of HTLV-1-infected T-cell lines by inducing cell cycle arrest followed by apoptosis. Our results suggest that suppression of the constitutively active AP-1 by curcumin is due to, at least in-part, reducing the expression of JunD by curcumin. Inhibition of AP-1 activity by curcumin may be one of the mechanisms responsible for the anti-ATL effect of curcumin. We propose that curcumin is a potentially promising compound for the treatment of ATL.