Modification of radiosensitivity by Curcumin in human pancreatic cancer cell lines

Sci Rep. 2020 Mar 2;10(1):3815. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-60765-1.


Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive malignancies and is characterized by a low 5-year survival rate, a broad genetic diversity and a high resistance to conventional therapies. As a result, novel therapeutic agents to improve the current situation are needed urgently. Curcumin, a polyphenolic colorant derived from Curcuma longa root, showed pleiotropic influences on cellular pathways in vitro and amongst others anti-cancer properties including sensitization of tumor cells to chemo- and radiation-therapy. In this study, we evaluated the impact of Curcumin on the radiosensitivity of the established human pancreatic cancer cell lines Panc-1 and MiaPaCa-2 in vitro. In contrast to MiaPaCa-2 cells, we found a significant radiosensitization by Curcumin in the more radioresistant Panc-1 cells, possibly caused by cell cycle arrest in the most radiation-sensitive G2/M-phase at the time of irradiation. Furthermore, a significant enhancement of radiation-induced apoptosis, DNA-double-strand breaks and G2/M-arrest after curcumin treatment was observed in both cell lines. These in vitro findings suggest that especially patients with more radioresistant tumors could benefit from a radiation-concomitant, phytotherapeutic therapy with Curcumin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / radiation effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • DNA Damage
  • G2 Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • G2 Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • M Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • M Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints / radiation effects
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Radiation Tolerance / drug effects*


  • Curcumin