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.