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Keywords:

  • Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma;
  • curcumin;
  • radiation;
  • cyclooxygenase-2;
  • epithelial growth factor receptor

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis:

To investigate whether curcumin enhances the cytotoxic effect of radiotherapy in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

Methods:

HNSCC cell lines SCC-1, SCC-9, KB, as well as A431 cell line were treated with curcumin, irradiation, or their combination. Cell viability was evaluated by XTT assay. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR), and p-Erk1/2 were measured by Western blot analysis. CD-1 athymic nude mice with orthotopic implanted SCC-1 cells, were treated with control diet, curcumin containing diet, local single-dose radiation, or combination.

Results:

Curcumin (IC50 range, 15–22 μM) and radiation inhibited cell viability in all cell lines were tested. The combination of curcumin and radiation resulted in additive effect. Curcumin decreased COX-2 expression and inhibited phosphorylation of EGFR in SCC-1 cells. In tumor-bearing mice the combination regimen showed a decrease in both tumor weight (25%, P = .09) and tumor size (15%, P = .23) compared to the nontreated mice.

Conclusions:

Curcumin inhibited HNSCC cell growth and augmented the effect of radiation in vitro and in vivo. A possible mechanism is inhibition of COX-2 expression and EGFR phosphorylation. Laryngoscope, 2009