Curcumin inhibits NF-kB and Wnt/β-catenin pathways in cervical cancer cells

Pathol Res Pract. 2019 Oct;215(10):152556. doi: 10.1016/j.prp.2019.152556. Epub 2019 Jul 23.


Curcumin is a natural non-toxic phenol which is isolated from Curcumin longa L. Mounting evidence has revealed the anticancer properties of curcumin in various tumors, but the underlying molecular mechanisms of this suppression in cervical cancer is still remained unclear. Here we assessed the antitumor effects of curcumin compared with 5-Fluorouracil in Hella cells in spheroids models and monolayer cell cultures. The anti-proliferative effects of curcumin and 5-Fluorouracil were as examined in spheroid and monolayer models. The expression levels of Wnt/β-catenin and NF-kB pathways as well as the influence of the cell cycle were evaluated. Curcumin inhibited cell growth in Hella cells through the regulation of NF-kB and Wnt pathways. Also, cells developed a G2/M cell cycle arrest followed by sub-G1 apoptosis with 5-Fluorouracil and curcumin. It was also shown that curcumin either considerably affects the Wnt/β-catenin and NF-kB pathways. We showed that curcumin inhibits invasion and proliferation of cervical cancer cells via impairment of NF-kB and Wnt/β-catenin pathways, proposing further studies on the potential impacts of this compound on cancer therapy.

Keywords: 5-Fluorouracil; Cervical cancer; Curcumin; Therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / pharmacology
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway / drug effects
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • NF-kappa B
  • Wnt Proteins
  • beta Catenin
  • Curcumin
  • Fluorouracil