Demethoxycurcumin Suppresses Proliferation, Migration, and Invasion of Human Brain Glioblastoma Multiforme GBM 8401 Cells via PI3K/Akt Pathway

Anticancer Res. 2021 Apr;41(4):1859-1870. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.14952.


Background/aim: Demethoxycurcumin (DMC), one of the derivatives of curcumin, has been shown to induce apoptotic cell death in many human cancer cell lines. However, there is no available information on whether DMC inhibits metastatic activity in human glioblastoma cancer cells in vitro.

Materials and methods: DMC at 1.0-3.0 μM significantly decreased the proliferation of GBM 8401 cells; thus, we used 2.0 μM for further investigation regarding anti-metastatic activity in human glioblastoma GBM 8401 cells.

Results: The internalized amount of DMC has reached the highest level in GBM 8401 cells after 3 h treatment. Wound healing assay was used to determine cell mobility and results indicated that DMC suppressed cell movement of GBM 8401 cells. The transwell chamber assays were used for measuring cell migration and invasion and results indicated that DMC suppressed cell migration and invasion in GBM 8401 cells. Gelatin zymography assay was used to examine gelatinolytic activity (MMP-2) in conditioned media of GBM 8401 cells treated by DMC and results demonstrated that DMC significantly reduced MMP-2 activity. Western blotting showed that DMC reduced the levels of p-EGFR(Tyr1068), GRB2, Sos1, p-Raf, MEK, p-ERK1/2, PI3K, p-Akt/PKBα(Thr308), p-PDK1, NF-κB, TIMP-1, MMP-9, MMP-2, GSK3α/β, β-catenin, N-cadherin, and vimentin, but it elevated Ras and E-cadherin at 24 h treatment.

Conclusion: DMC inhibited cancer cell migration and invasion through inhibition of PI3K/Akt and NF-κB signaling pathways in GBM 8401 cells. We suggest that DMC may be used as a novel anti-metastasis agent for the treatment of human glioblastoma cancer in the future.

Keywords: Demethoxycurcumin (DMC); NF-κB; human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM 8401) cells; invasion; migration.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Diarylheptanoids / pharmacology*
  • Glioblastoma / drug therapy*
  • Glioblastoma / enzymology
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • Diarylheptanoids
  • NF-kappa B
  • beta Catenin
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • MMP2 protein, human
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • MMP9 protein, human
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9
  • demethoxycurcumin