Background: We have recently shown that curcumin (a diferuloylmethane) inhibits growth and induces apoptosis, and also demonstrated that TRAIL induces apoptosis by binding to specific cell surface death receptors in prostate cancer cells. The objectives of this paper were to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which curcumin enhanced the apoptosis-inducing potential of TRAIL in prostate cancer cells.
Results: Curcumin enhanced the apoptosis-inducing potential of TRAIL in androgen-unresponsive PC-3 cells and sensitized androgen-responsive TRAIL-resistant LNCaP cells. Curcumin inhibited the expressions of Bcl-2, Bcl-XL, survivin and XIAP, and induced the expressions Bax, Bak, PUMA, Bim, and Noxa and death receptors (TRAIL-R1/DR4 and TRAIL-R2/DR5) in both cell lines. Overexpression of dominant negative FADD inhibited the interactive effects of curcumin and TRAIL on apoptosis. Treatment of these cells with curcumin resulted in activation of caspase-3, and caspase-9, and drop in mitochondrial membrane potential, and these events were further enhanced when combined with TRAIL. Curcumin inhibited capillary tube formation and migration of HUVEC cells and these effects were further enhanced in the presence of MEK1/2 inhibitor PD98059.
Conclusion: The ability of curcumin to inhibit capillary tube formation and cell migration, and enhance the therapeutic potential of TRAIL suggests that curcumin alone or in combination with TRAIL can be used for prostate cancer prevention and/or therapy.