Purpose: Accumulating evidence from epidemiologic and clinical studies indicates that chronic inflammatory disorders harbor an increased risk of cancer development. Curcumin (CUR) has been strongly linked to the anti-inflammatory effect. On the other hand, isothiocyanates such as sulforaphane (SFN) and phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) are strong phase-II detoxifying/antioxidant enzymes inducer. Therefore it is interesting to see if combination of these drugs can inhibit inflammation with higher combined efficacies.
Methods: We used nitric oxide (NO) assay to assess the synergism of the different combinations of CUR, SFN and PEITC. The inflammatory markers, e.g. iNOS, COX-2, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-1 (IL-1) levels were determined using RT-PCR, Western blot and ELISA assays.
Results: We report that combination of PEITC + SFN or CUR + SFN has a synergistic effect in down-regulating inflammation markers like TNF, IL-1, NO, PGE2. The synergism is probably due to the synergistic induction of phase II/antioxidant enzymes including heme-oxygenase1 (HO-1) and NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO-1).
Conclusions: Our data suggest that CUR + SFN and PEITC + SFN combinations could be more effective than used alone in preventing inflammation and possibly its associated diseases including cancer.