Highly active anticancer curcumin analogues

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007:595:77-103. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-46401-5_2.


Curcumin, a compound in the human food supply, represents a near-perfect starting point for drug discovery. Consequently, a number of research groups have taken the natural product as a starting point to prepare and biologically evaluate a wide variety of curcumin analogues. One widely used structural modification truncates the central conjugated beta-diketone in curcumin to the monocarbonyl dienone. A diverse array of the latter compounds exhibit cytotoxicities against an equally diverse set of cancer-related cell lines. Importantly, these compounds still retain toxicity profiles in rodents comparable to the parent natural product, whereas some analogues (e.g., EF-24, 41) exhibit good oral bioavailability and good pharmacokinetics in mice. Thiol conjugates of EF-24 analogues have been prepared that address stability and solubility issues while demonstrating cellular activities similar to the unmodified dienones. In parallel experiments, the factor VIIa-tissue factor complex (fVIIa-TF) has been exploited to develop a targeting strategy for the analogues. In particular, the EF24-FFRck-fVIIa protein conjugate is not only somewhat more effective relative to the drug alone against breast cancer and melanocyte cells. Both simple curcumin analogues and the protein conjugate evidence antiangiogenic activity in cell culture. The implication is that the fVIIa-TF targeting process, like the dienone drugs, permits a double-pronged attack with the potential to destroy a tumor directly by apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / chemistry*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / toxicity
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Curcumin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Curcumin / chemistry*
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Curcumin / toxicity
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Curcumin