Modification of radiosensitivity by Curcumin in human pancreatic cancer cell lines

Schwarz, K., Dobiasch, S., Nguyen, L., Schilling, D., and Combs, S. E. (2020). Sci Rep 10, 3815


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.