Enhanced apoptotic effects by the combination of curcumin and methylseleninic acid: Potential role of mcl-1 and FAK

Xiao Guo, Shutao Yin, Yinhui Dong, Lihong Fan, Min Ye, Junxuan Lu, Hongbo Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Curcumin and methylseleninic acid (MSeA) are well-documented dietary chemopreventive agents. Apoptosis appears to be a major mechanism for both agents to exert anti-cancer activity. The purpose of the present study was designed to determine whether the apoptotic effect on human cancer cells can be enhanced by combining curcumin with MSeA. Apoptosis was evaluated by Annexin V staining of externalized phosphatidylserine by flow cytometry. Expression of protein was analyzed by Western blotting. Localization of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) was detected by immunocytochemistry. RNA interference was employed to inhibit expression of specific protein. We found here that combining curcumin with MSeA led to a significantly enhanced apoptosis in both MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells and DU145 prostate cancer cells. Further mechanistic investigations revealed that curcumin treatment alone caused a concentration dependent upregulation of Mcl-1, which can be overcome by combining it with MSeA. In line with the Mcl-1 reduction, an enhanced mitochondrial permeability transition and AIF nuclear translocation by the combination were achieved. In addition, an increased suppression of focal adhesion kinase activity was observed in the combination-treated cells which were associated with cell detachment-induced apoptosis by the combination. Our findings suggest that curcumin/MSeA combination holds excellent potential for improving their efficacy against human breast and prostate cancer through enhanced apoptosis induction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)879-889
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhanced apoptotic effects by the combination of curcumin and methylseleninic acid: Potential role of mcl-1 and FAK'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this