Growth inhibition and apoptosis inducing mechanisms of curcumin on human ovarian cancer cell line A2780

Chin J Integr Med. 2006 Jun;12(2):126-31. doi: 10.1007/BF02857359.


Objective: To explore the growth inhibition effects and apoptosis inducing mechanisms of curcumin on human ovarian cancer cell line A2780.

Methods: After treatment with 10 - 50 micromol/L curcumin for 6 - 24 h, the growth activity of A2780 cancer cells were studied by [4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) colorimetry. Cellular apoptosis was inspected by flow cytometery and acridine orange-ethidium bromide fluorescent staining methods. The fragmentation of cellular chromosome DNA was detected by DNA ladder, the ultrastructural change was observed under a transmission electron microscope, and the protein levels of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB, P65) and cysteinyl aspartate specific protease-3 (Caspase-3) in ovarian cancer cells were measured by immunohistochemistry.

Results: After treatment with various concentrations of curcumin, the growth inhibition rates of cancer cells reached 62.05% - 89.24%, with sub-G(1) peaks appearing on histogram. Part of the cancer cells showed characteristic morphological changes of apoptosis under fluorescence and electron microscopes, and the rate of apoptosis was 21.5% - 33.5%. The protein expression of NF-kappaB was decreased, while that of Caspase-3 was increased in a time-dependent manner.

Conclusion: Curcumin could significantly inhibit the growth of human ovarian cancer cells; inducing apoptosis through up-regulating Caspase-3 and down-regulating gene expression of NF-kappaB is probably one of its molecular mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acridine Orange
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Caspase 3 / analysis
  • Cell Division / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colorimetry
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Down-Regulation
  • Ethidium
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • NF-kappa B / analysis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Up-Regulation


  • NF-kappa B
  • Caspase 3
  • Ethidium
  • Acridine Orange
  • Curcumin