Curcuma wenyujin extract induces apoptosis and inhibits proliferation of human cervical cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.
Integr Cancer Ther. 2010 Feb 11. Epub 2010 Feb 11. PMID: 20150221
An essential oil extract, derived from the rhizome of Curcuma wenyujin (CWE), possesses antioxidative, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. However, it remains unknown how exactly CWE inhibits tumor growth. In this study, using human cervical cancer HeLa cells, the authors postulated that CWE has the ability to inhibit tumor growth. The study shows that CWE dose-dependently suppressed colony formation and inhibited the proliferation of HeLa cells through blockade of cell cycle progression at G1 phase and apoptosis. CWE-induced G1 arrest was associated with retinoblastoma protein dephosphorylation and reduced amounts of cyclins D1 and D3, and cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and 6 proteins. CWE treatment resulted in apoptosis in HeLa cells as evidenced by morphological changes, caspase activation and PARP cleavage, which can be reversed by a pan-caspase inhibitor. It was observed that CWE treatment activated the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway indicated by a decrease in Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL levels, resulting in mitochondrial membrane potential loss and caspases 9 activation. CWE-treated cells displayed reduced PTEN, AKT, and STAT3 phosphorylation and downregulation of NFkappaB signaling, providing a mechanism for the G1 arrest and apoptosis observed. Furthermore, CWE inhibited tumor growth of HeLa in a xenograft mouse tumor model, suggesting that CWE inhibited tumorigenesis by inhibiting cell proliferation and inducing apoptosis. These findings are the first to reveal the molecular basis for the anticervical cancer action of CWE. The results suggest that CWE could be developed as a drug for the management of cervical cancer.