In vitro Evidence

Curcumin potentiates the apoptotic effects of chemotherapeutic agents and cytokines through down-regulation of nuclear factor-kappaB and nuclear factor-kappaB-regulated gene products in IFN-alpha-sensitive and IFN-alpha-resistant human bladder cancer cells
Mol Cancer Ther. 2007;6(3):1022-30
Mortality rate from bladder cancer vary in different countries, highest in European countries, such as Denmark, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Italy, whereas Asian countries, such as India, Japan, China and Singapore have the lowest rates. In developed nations, cigarette smoking is the major risk factor for bladder cancer; exposure to chemical carcinogens in the environment, particularly in the workplace, is another contributing factor.

Most of the deaths from bladder cancer are due to advanced unresectable disease, which is resistant to chemotherapy. Unfortunately, there is no improvement in the patients’ survival rate, although some of these newer regimens are less toxic.

Taken into the account that patients with bladder cancer face the threat of both metastasis and uncontrolled local recurrence after treatment as well as unknown etiologic factors for bladder cancer carcinogenesis, there is an urgent requirement for alternative interventions for the prevention of bladder cancer progression and metastasis.

Curcumin, a pharmacologically safe agent that has been shown to suppress NF-ĸB activation, which regulates the expression of genes involved in antiapoptosis, proliferation and metastasis, and NF-ĸB gene products.

To determine whether treatment with curcumin alone or in combination with chemotherapeutic agents or cytokines has a role in modulating the proliferation and apoptosis of bladder cancer cells by regulating the NF-ĸB pathway.

Study Design:

 The human bladder carcinoma cell line KU-7 and RT4V6 were tested for NF-ĸB activation, the levels of protein expression, measure apoptosis and antiproliferative effect.

  • Curcumin suppressed the proliferation of bladder cancer cells
  • Curcumin also potentiated the apoptotic effects of chemotherapeutic agents and cytokines used against bladder cancer
  • Gemcitabine induced NF-ĸB activation in both RT4V6 and KU-7 cells in a time-dependent manner, whereas Curcumin inhibited gemcitabine-induced NF-ĸB activation in both cell types
  • Treatment with Curcumin inhibited cigarette smoke–induced NF-ĸB activation in both RT4V6 and KU-7 cells in a dose-dependent manner

Overall, Curcumin has a role in the prevention and/or treatment of bladder cancer and hence, can be useful either alone or in combination with existing therapy.