Low curcumin concentration enhances the anticancer effect of 5-fluorouracil against colorectal cancer.
Phytomedicine. 2021 Mar 17 ;85:153547. Epub 2021 Mar 17. PMID: 33812170
BACKGROUND: Colon cancer treatments include surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Chemotherapy using 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) has been widely applied to treat colorectal cancer (CRC). However, it is important to explore the use of chemotherapy drugs in combination with other agents to decrease severe adverse effects.
PURPOSE: This study aimed to investigate the effects of curcumin in combination with 5-FU on the proliferation, migration, and apoptosis of CRC SW620 cell line both in vitro and in vivo.
METHODS: Flow cytometry was used to study the effect of curcumin on chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in CRC cells. The mechanism of curcumin's enhanced antitumor effect in vivo was investigated using gene knockdown, TUNEL, western blot, qRT-PCR and immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: The results showed a synergistic effect of the two compounds on CRC cells. Considerable reduction in the proliferation and migration of SW620 cells was observed in the combination treatment group. Significantly increased apoptosis rate extended the survival of immunodeficient mice in the combination group as compared to that of the 5-FU group (p<0.05). The results showed that curcumin significantly inhibited pERK signaling and downregulated L1 expression in SW620 cells.
CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that curcumin promotes chemosensitivity of CRC cells to 5-FU by downregulating L1 expression. Our findings provide experimental evidence for the synergism between curcumin and 5-FU, which can be utilized in clinical applications for reducing the toxicity and adverse effects of 5-FU.