Curcumin Induces Autophagy, Apoptosis, and Cell Cycle Arrest in Human Pancreatic Cancer Cells

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:5787218. doi: 10.1155/2017/5787218. Epub 2017 Sep 10.


Objective: Curcumin is an active extract from turmeric. The aim of this study was to identify the underlying mechanism of curcumin on PCa cells and the role of autophagy in this process.

Methods: The inhibitory effect of curcumin on the growth of PANC1 and BxPC3 cell lines was detected by CCK-8 assay. Cell cycle distribution and apoptosis were tested by flow cytometry. Autophagosomes were tested by cell immunofluorescence assay. The protein expression was detected by Western blot. The correlation between LC3II/Bax and cell viability was analyzed.

Results: Curcumin inhibited the cell proliferation in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Curcumin could induce cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase and apoptosis of PCa cells. The autophagosomes were detected in the dosing groups. Protein expression of Bax and LC3II was upregulated, while Bcl2 was downregulated in the high dosing groups of curcumin. There was a significant negative correlation between LC3II/Bax and cell viability.

Conclusions: Autophagy could be triggered by curcumin in the treatment of PCa. Apoptosis and cell cycle arrest also participated in this process. These findings imply that curcumin is a multitargeted agent for PCa cells. In addition, autophagic cell death may predominate in the high concentration groups of curcumin.